Feb. 17, 2021 – On Jan. 13, Wanzhou Meng, also known as “Cathy Meng” and “Sabrina Meng”, brought an application for variation of the terms of her bail conditions. Meng is facing extradition to the United States to face fraud charges. On Jan. 29, a Canadian Court denied the application. The Court’s reasons are summarized as follows.
Meng is the chief financial officer and deputy chairwoman of the Chinese technology company Huawei, where she has worked since 1993. She is a citizen of China, and is neither a citizen nor a permanent resident of Canada, although she and her husband, Xiaozong Liu, owns two houses in Vancouver.
Meng was arrested on Dec. 1, 2018 during a stopover at Vancouver International Airport, where she was to board a connecting flight to Mexico. Following her arrest, Meng applied for bail (known by the courts as a judicial interim release). The United States opposed her release and sought an order for her detention.
On Dec. 11, 2018, following a three-day hearing, the Courts in Vancouver decided Meng could be released upon her entering into a recognizance in the amount of $10 million, including a cash deposit of $7 million and with five or more sureties in the total aggregate amount of $3 million, with one of those sureties being Scot Filer from Lions Gate Risk Management Group (”Lions Gate”), in the amount of $1,000.
Conditions attached to Meng’s release included that she remain inside one of the residences she owned in Vancouver between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m., that she remain within a defined geographical area when outside that residence, that she agree to GPS monitoring with an ankle bracelet at all times, that she surrender all passports and travel documents, and that she remain within the Province of British Columbia at all times.
The Canadian Court also required Meng to live with a residential surety (under residential supervision). The residential supervisor appointed was Scot Filer and his company, Lions Gate Security. Filer was ordered to provide around the clock (24/7) supervision and surveillance to ensure Meng’s compliance with all conditions of her judicial interim release. Meng agreed to pay the costs of Filer’s supervision.
Meng has now lived with Filer and his security team for 25 months but has sought a variation of her bail conditions that would permit her to leave her residence during non-curfew hours without Lions Gate’s supervision or physical surveillance.
Meng’s husband, Xiaozong Liu, filed an affidavit indicating that when visiting his wife, he and his children were not allowed to accompany her when she leaves the residence in a vehicle. He testified that they have to drive separately because of the presence of Lions Gate security personnel who are required to be in a vehicle with Meng.
Liu further testified that as a family, they used to go to the grocery store, coffee shops, shopping malls and playgrounds together. While COVID-19 has made these outings more difficult, it is even more challenging with the presence of Lions Gate security personnel. He testified that their children are afraid of being identified by the public due to presence and proximity of Lions Gate security personnel.
The Court also heard evidence from Douglas Maynard, the chief operating officer of Lions Gate. He testified that the risks are not so much those of Meng intentionally breaching her conditions, but risks of others trying to “extract” her from Canada, as well as other potential risks to her safety. Lions Gate, as well as the United States, advised the Court that the requested bail variations should be denied.
The Canadian Court agreed with the United States and Lions Gate Security—meaning that for the indefinite future Meng will continue to wear an ankle bracelet and spending every moment of the day with Lions Gate Security personnel.
The full decision of the Court is available here.