Huawei executive’s extradition case allowed to proceed


Canada says it will allow the US extradition case against Chinese Huawei heiress Meng Wanzhou to proceed.

Canadian Department of Justice officials issued a statement saying they diligently reviewed the evidence and the case can go ahead.

Meng, the company’s chief financial officer, is due in court on March 6, at which time a date for her extradition hearing will be set. The decision to proceed is a formality and allows a judge to hear arguments on whether to grant the US request.

Canada arrested the daughter of Huawei’s founder at the request of the US on December 1 at Vancouver’s airport. Meng is wanted on fraud charges that she misled banks about the company’s business dealings in Iran which is under economic sanctions.

“There is sufficient evidence to be put before an extradition judge for decision,” the statement said.

The statement took pains to stress Canada is following its extradition laws. Ultimately, Canada’s justice minister must decide if Meng is extradited.

The case set off a diplomatic furor among the three countries, complicated high-stakes US-China trade talks and severely damaged Beijing’s relations with Ottawa.

China detained former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and Canadian entrepreneur Michael Spavor on December 10 in an apparent attempt to pressure Canada to release Meng. A Chinese court also sentenced a Canadian to death in a sudden retrial, overturning a 15-year prison term handed down earlier. Kovrig and Spavor haven’t had access to a lawyer since being arrested.

Meng is out on bail in Canada and living in one of her two Vancouver mansions awaiting extradition proceedings.

David Martin, Meng’s lawyer, said in a statement: “We are disappointed that the Minister of Justice has decided to issue an Authority to Proceed in the face of the political nature of the US charges and where the President of the United States has repeatedly stated that he would interfere in Ms Meng’s case if he thought it would assist the US negotiations with China over a trade deal.”

Martin also said the charges against Meng were not crimes in Canada and that his client maintained her innocence.

China’s embassy said it was “utterly dissatisfied.”

“This is not a merely judicial case, but a political persecution against a Chinese high-tech enterprise,” the embassy said in a statement.

Huawei, the biggest global supplier of network gear for phone and internet companies, is a focus of US security concerns. Washington has pressured other countries to limit use of its technology, warning they could be opening themselves up to surveillance and theft of information.



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