Huawei CFO: Final weeks of US extradition hearings begin

After more than two years, legal proceedings in the US extradition hearings of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou are entering their final weeks.

Huawei Technologies Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou is pictured here in 2019 leaving her home in Vancouver, Canada, where she has been under house arrest [File: Lindsey Wasson/Reuters]

Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou returns to a Canadian courtroom on Wednesday for the final weeks of her United States extradition hearings, as the legal proceedings running more than two years draw to a close.

Meng, 49, was arrested in December 2018 at Vancouver International Airport on a warrant from the US, which charged her with misleading HSBC Holdings Plc about Huawei’s business dealings in Iran, potentially causing the bank to violate US economic sanctions.

Meng, who has said she is innocent, has been fighting her extradition case while under house arrest in Vancouver.

The upcoming hearings, expected to last until August 20, will initially focus on the third part of her lawyers’ arguments, specifically that US prosecutors materially misrepresented the case against her in their extradition request to Canada.

The defence has called the US record of the case “manifestly unreliable”, which Canadian prosecutors dispute.

Hearings will next move to the remedy stage, which will address Meng’s allegations that abuses of process occurred during her arrest. After that, a committal hearing, to determine whether there is sufficient evidence against Meng for her to stand trial, will take place.

A decision is widely expected in September or in subsequent months.

A spokesperson for Canada’s Department of Justice said on Tuesday that Meng will continue to be afforded a fair process in accordance with Canadian law.

Huawei did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In the days following Meng’s arrest, which immediately caused a chill in relations between Ottawa and Beijing, China detained two Canadians – Michael Spavor, a businessman, and Michael Kovrig, a former diplomat. Ottawa has repeatedly pressed Washington for help in pressuring China to release the men.

The context of the case has “changed significantly” since Joe Biden became US president in January of this year, said Lynette Ong, an associate professor at the University of Toronto and an expert on China.

Biden’s return to more traditional modes of diplomacy means that Canada can rely on the US to advocate for the two Canadians in ways it could not under former US President Donald Trump, Ong said.

“Friends have to look out for each other’s interests in the Biden era, which wasn’t the case during Trump – it was very much a unilateral aggressive approach,” Ong said.

Source: Reuters