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Canadian Michael Spavor missing in China – BBC News - http://earlyretireonline.com | how to earn money fast

December 13, 2018 12:17 am
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Michael Spavor (L) in North Korea with former NBA star Dennis Rodman (right) (3 Sept 2013)Image copyright AFP
Image caption Michael Spavor (left) helped arrange ex-NBA star Dennis Rodman’s trip to North Korea in 2013

Canada’s foreign ministry says it is trying to make contact with a second Canadian citizen being investigated by China on suspicion of harming its national security.

Businessman Michael Spavor had contacted Canadian officials this week to say he was being questioned.

A Canadian ex-diplomat was arrested in China earlier this week.

On 1 December, Canada arrested an executive with Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, at the request of the US.

The Americans are seeking the extradition of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer (CFO) of Huawei, on suspicion of violating US sanctions on Iran.

China has threatened unspecified consequences if she is not released.

Who are the two Canadians?

Michael Spavor is a businessman based in Dandong, near the Chinese border with North Korea. He has deep ties to the North Korean government.

Ex-diplomat Michael Kovrig currently works for a think thank, the International Crisis Group (ICG), which has said it is concerned for his health and safety.

Timeline of events

1 December: Meng Wanzhou arrested in Canadian city of Vancouver at the request of the US as part of an inquiry into alleged sanctions-busting by her company Huawei

10 December: Canadian former diplomat Michael Kovrig arrested in Beijing “on suspicion of engaging in activities that harm China’s state security”

11 December: Meng Wanzhou released on bail but still faces the prospect of extradition to the US

12 December: Canada announces that a second Canadian, later named as businessman Michael Spavor, is missing in China; China confirms he is being likewise investigated over “activities that endanger China’s national security”

Both men were apparently detained following the arrest of Ms Meng although after the detention of Mr Kovrig, Canada said there was currently no “explicit indication” of any link.

Canadian officials said the reason for Mr Kovrig’s detention remained unclear while Chinese state media have reported that he is being held “on suspicion of engaging in activities that harm China’s state security”.

At a news conference in Ottawa on Wednesday, Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said Mr Kovrig’s case had been raised directly with Chinese officials.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Michael Kovrig was working for a think tank that focuses on conflict reduction research

Foreign ministry spokesman Guillaume Bérubé confirmed that Mr Spavor was “presently missing in China” after Ms Freeland said a second Canadian had contacted them earlier in the week because “he was being asked questions by Chinese authorities”.

Canada is working hard to determine Mr Spavor’s whereabouts, Mr Bérubé said,

China state media confirmed on Thursday that, as with the previous arrest, Mr Spavor was under investigation on suspicion of “engaging in activities that endanger China’s national security”.

Mr Spavor runs an organisation called Paektu Cultural Exchange, which organises business, culture and tourism trips to North Korea.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Mr Spavor met North Korea’s Kim Jong-un during his 2013 visit to Pyongyang

He is a regular visitor to North Korea and regularly comments in the media on Korean issues. He is particularly well known for helping to arrange the visit by former NBA star Dennis Rodman to North Korea in 2013.

Rodman is a personal friend of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

One of Mr Spavor’s last tweets, on Sunday, said he was about to travel to Seoul in South Korea, but he did not arrive on Monday as planned.

Why was Meng arrested?

The former Canadian resident was detained in Vancouver where she has family and property connections.

She was granted bail of C$10m (£6m; $7.4m) on Tuesday but could still be extradited to the US.

Image copyright Reuters

The US has been investigating Huawei, one of the world’s largest smartphone makers, since 2016, believing that it used a subsidiary to bring US manufacturing equipment and millions of dollars in transactions to Iran illegally.

The Supreme Court of British Columbia was told Ms Meng had used a Huawei subsidiary called Skycom to evade sanctions on Iran between 2009 and 2014.

She had allegedly misrepresented Skycom as being a separate company.

Ms Meng faces up to 30 years in prison in the US if found guilty of the charges, the Canadian court heard.

China and Huawei insist that she has not broken any laws.

 
 

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