OTTAWA (Reuters) – Huawei Technologies Co Ltd’s Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou had been looking for another job when she was arrested in Canada last December on a U.S. warrant, the firm’s founder said in an interview aired on Thursday.
Ren Zhengfei, who is Meng’s father, also told Canada’s CTV that the two had become closer since she was detained in Vancouver on Dec. 1 last year.
The United States wants Meng to be extradited to face charges that she engaged in bank and wire fraud in violation of American sanctions against Iran. She denies wrongdoing.
“One month before that arrest, she wanted to resign and find a job elsewhere. She was not happy working here but after being arrested this matter improved our relationship and now she understands how difficult life can be,” Ren told CTV.
“In the past she had a smooth path. She couldn’t take the setbacks very well … you have to suffer a lot before becoming a hero and if you don’t have scars, you won’t have tough skin,” he added in comments that were translated into English.
Relations between Canada and China deteriorated sharply after Meng’s arrest. China has arrested two Canadians on national security grounds and retried another citizen who had already been convicted on drugs charges, this time sentencing him to death.
“Meng Wanzhou has committed no crime. She didn’t violate any Canadian rules and I think both Canada and Huawei are victims because this case hurts people in both countries and bilateral relations also suffered setbacks,” said Ren.
He also said he had previously only communicated infrequently with Meng, given how busy the two were.
“Now, every other day we have phone calls, we shoot the breeze, tell jokes, I tell her some anecdote I read on the internet. The case in Canada made my bonds deeper with my daughter,” he said.
Huawei is a major manufacturer of equipment for 5G, the latest generation of cellular mobile communications. Canada is studying whether the firm will be able to bid for 5G contracts, given concerns about how secure the technology is.
Washington said last month that it would not be able to partner with or share information with countries that adopt Huawei systems.
“Meng Wanzhou is an individual case and I don’t think it should influence in any way the relationship Canada has with Huawei,” said Ren.
(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)