Canadian businessman Michael Spavor is missing in China, according to a Canadian official, just days after Chinese authorities detained a former Canadian diplomat. Spavor’s disappearance comes shortly after the detention in Beijing on Monday of former diplomat Michael Kovrig, who works for the International Crisis Group. State media in China reported that Korvig is currently being investigated “on suspicion of engaging in activities that harm China’s state security.”
Meanwhile, Spavor is being investigated in China on suspicion of harming China’s national security, a Chinese government news site said on Thursday. According to the official news site of the Liaoning province government, he has been under investigation since December 10. It did not provide additional details.
China became outraged due to Canada’s arrest on Dec. 1 of Chinese executive Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of China’s Huawei Technologies, while Spavor’s disappearance is likely to further stir the pot.
Meng’s arrest was made at Washington’s request, after being accused by U.S. prosecutors of misleading banks about transactions linked to Iran, putting the banks at risk of violating sanctions.
Canada hasn’t had contact with Spavor since he notified the Canadian government that he was being questioned by Chinese authorities, Foreign Ministry spokesman Guillaume Berube said in statement issued in Canada late on Wednesday. He also stated that Canada is working hard to discover Spavor’s whereabouts and will continue to alert the issue with the Chinese government.
CNBC reports that all phone calls, messages and emails directed to Spavor went unanswered on Thursday. Friends of Spavor told Reuters he was expected to fly out of Dalian on a Korean Air flight to South Korea at 2:05 p.m. (0605 GMT) on Monday but never arrived.