Huawei executive’s extradition hearing begins

DHARAMSALA, 21 Jan: The extradition proceedings of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, who is wanted in the United States on fraud allegations has started in Canada.

Meng Wanzhou stood for the first stage of an extradition hearing in a Vancouver courtroom on Monday, media reports said.

Meng, 47, made no comment as she arrived at a Vancouver courthouse for a scheduled hearing, BBC reported.

Meanwhile, the Chinese tech company has said that it stands firmly by its executive “in her pursuit of justice and freedom” in a video statement it has released on its social media platforms.

Huawei has expressed its confidence in Canada’s judicial system and stated that it “will prove Ms Meng’s innocence”.

Ming’s first phase of extradition proceeding’s hearings is scheduled to run from 20-24 January in the British Columbia supreme court in Vancouver during the course of which the court will hear arguments on whether the crime she is accused of by the US would also be considered a crime in Canada, the report added.

Her lawyers have however argued in court during the hearing that Canada is effectively being asked “to enforce US sanctions,” the report added.

“This case is founded on allegations of breach of US sanctions, which Canada has repudiated. The US has cast (Ms Meng’s) alleged behaviour as a fraud against a bank. This is an artifice,” her lead defence lawyer, Richard Peck was quoted as saying in the report.

Canada’s justice department has stated in the report that “it will now justify extradition by arguing US accusations against Ms Meng would be considered a crime in Canada if they had occurred there”.

The Huawei chief financial officer was arrested by the Canadian authorities in Vancouver late 2018 on the behest of the US government and she is currently under house arrest.

Shortly after her arrest, she was out on bail but remains under house arrest in Vancouver.

The relationship between the two countries nosedived after her arrest. Following her arrest, China has reportedly detained 13 Canadians, off the lot, at least five of them are still being held in detention on undisclosed charges.

Huawei is said to have close links with the Chinese military, the company was founded by Meng’s father, Ren Zhengfei, a former officer at the People’s Liberation Army. Besides selling cell phones, it also sells equipment that is part of the global roll-out of the fifth-generation (5G) mobile networks which experts say could be used for undetected surveillance or intelligence gathering by the communist regime.

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