The arrest of Huawei’s chief financial officer has thrust her into the middle of a diplomatic storm and is exposing details of her life that were once shrouded in secrecy.
Meng Wanzhou is one of China’s top tech executives and the daughter of Huawei’s founder, Ren Zhengfei. Like her billionaire father, she mostly avoids the media spotlight.
Now, court documents from her bail hearing in Canada are shedding new light on the 46-year-old businesswoman, who is wanted by the United States for fraud.
She owns two Vancouver houses worth millions
China’s elites often seek to keep their fortunes out of the public eye.
It’s unclear how much Meng is worth. She has never appeared on the Hurun Rich List, which tracks China’s wealthiest people, according to its founder Rupert Hoogewerf.
But she definitely has deep pockets.
Court documents state Meng and her venture capitalist husband, Liu Xiaozong, own two properties in Vancouver alone, one worth 5.6 million Canadian dollars ($4.2 million) and the other worth 16.3 million Canadian dollars ($12.2 million).
Meng and Liu are willing to pledge the equity in either or both of their homes as security for bail, in addition to a cash deposit, they told the court.
It makes sense that Meng is wealthy. She has been a top executive at one of China’s biggest tech companies for years. Her father is worth $3.2 billion, according to Forbes.
She was a permanent resident of Canada
Meng said in her written statement to the court that she and her family have extensive ties to Canada — which she first visited in 2003 — and to Vancouver in particular.
Since then she has returned to the country regularly, “originally as a visitor but for some period of time I was also a permanent resident of Canada — status that I have since relinquished,” she said.
There has been frenzied speculation on Chinese social media over Meng’s ties to Canada.
China does not recognize dual citizenship. But many Chinese who study and work abroad become passport holders of other countries without renouncing their citizenship.
Meng said she only holds passports from China and Hong Kong now.
US officials claim that in the past 11 years, Meng has been issued at least seven passports from Hong Kong and China.
She’s a cancer survivor
Meng survived thyroid cancer, for which she underwent surgery in 2011, according to the court documents.
If caught early, the survival rate for thyroid cancer is nearly 100%, according to the American Cancer Society.
Aside from cancer, Meng’s lawyers said in a written statement to the court that she has suffered from hypertension for years, and last year had surgery on her jaw and throat to fix health issues related to sleep apnea.
Immediately after being arrested in Vancouver on December 1, Meng was taken to a nearby hospital to be treated for severe hypertension, according to court documents.
She’s a mother of four
In an interview with a Chinese business paper in 2013, Meng said she was married with two young children. She was shooting down rumors at the time that she was married to a Huawei executive, saying her husband didn’t work in telecommunications.
Court documents reveal she has four children, and has been married to Liu since 2007.
Liu, 43, said in his written statement to the court that the couple have a young daughter and that he is the primary caregiver.
“My wife also has three older sons from previous marriages,” he added.
Meng’s oldest son is employed and living independently in China, and her two teenage sons are currently away at school, one of them in China, according to her lawyer’s statement. The location of the other son’s school was redacted.
Her daughter attended kindergarten in Vancouver, and now goes to school in China. Depending on the length of Meng’s detention in Canada, Liu said that he would bring their daughter to Vancouver to attend school and be with her parents.
Julia Horowitz contributed to this report.