Huawei chief financial officer Wanzhou Meng’s family appears to have connections to at least two pricey Vancouver homes including one in the exclusive Shaughnessy neighbourhood, property records show.
Meng, who also goes by the name Sabrina, was arrested by Canadian police while changing planes at Vancouver International Airport Dec. 1 on a warrant issued under the Extradition Act at the request of U.S. authorities.
She is due to appear in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver Friday morning for a continuation of her bail hearing.
Crown prosecutors have declined to say why Meng is being sought for extradition, but the Wall Street Journal has reported that it is related to alleged violations of U.S. trade sanctions, which Reuters news reported were sanctions against Iran.
The Vancouver houses, one on Matthews Ave. in Shaughnessy, the other on West 28th Avenue in Dunbar, are registered to Xiaozong Liu — according to B.C. Land Title registry records — the same name as Meng’s husband, who is identified in Chinese media.
No one answered the door when Postmedia News visited the Dunbar home Thursday afternoon, but neighbourhood residents said they recognized Meng from media reports, though they did not want to talk on the record.
The yard of the two-storey executive-style home on 28th Avenue is well kept, with decorative miniature lawn furniture out front.
Shutters were closed and drapes were drawn and a security camera monitored the front door.
Meng, 46, is deputy chairwoman of Huawei Technologies, one of China’s telecom giants and a family business founded in 1987 by her former military-engineer father Ren Zhengfei.
Chinese enterprises are often family businesses and family members take the best spots if they are qualified and interested, said Neil Abramson, a retired professor of business strategy at Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business.
“She’s the daughter of the chairman so she would be like Ivanka Trump. She would be the Ivanka Trump of Huawei,” said Abramson, adding that Huawei is like the “Apple of China” and Meng is an extremely important business person.
“It would be like apprehending someone like Bill Gates or some very important American business person.”
Bloomberg News reported that Meng’s marital status was unclear, but in 2013 she denied in another media report that she was married to Huawei board member and chief strategy marketing officer Xu Wenwei.
The website Best China News references Meng appearing at a school anniversary ceremony with her husband, Xiaozong Liu.
Meng rose through the company ranks through hard work rather than privilege, said Wenran Jiang, a senior fellow at the University of British Columbia’s Institute for Asian Research.
“She was actually at one point criticized by her father and being suppressed from promotion. That was a well-known story and she eventually proved herself and moved herself up in the ranks,” he said.
Her bio on the company website says Meng joined Huawei in 1993 and held various positions across the company, including director of international accounting and CFO of Huawei Hong Kong. She holds a master’s degree from Huazhong University of Science and Technology.
For a period of time she was in charge of Huawei’s internationalization efforts, which have been extremely successful, said Jiang.
Property documents list Liu as owner of the home on 28th Avenue in Vancouver since 2009, when the home was purchased for $2.7 million. Records also show that Liu has owned the Matthews Avenue property since 2016, when it was purchased for $15 million
With files from The Canadian Press and Bloomberg