UK & US

Top Huawei executive’s extradition hearing begins in Canada

Issued on: 21/01/2020 – 08:50Modified: 21/01/2020 – 08:50

The first stage of an extradition hearing for a senior executive of Chinese tech giant Huawei started in a Vancouver courtroom Monday, a case that has infuriated Beijing, caused a diplomatic uproar between China and Canada and complicated high-stakes trade talks between China and the United States.

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Canadas arrest of chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of Huaweis founder, in late 2018 at Americas request enraged Beijing to the point it detained two Canadians in apparent retaliation.

Huawei represents Chinas progress in becoming a technological power and has been a subject of U.S. security concerns for years. Beijing views Mengs case as an attempt to contain Chinas rise.

“Our government has been clear. We are a rule of law country and we honor our extradition treaty commitments,” Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said at a Cabinet retreat in Manitoba. “It is what we need to do and what we will do.”

Chinas foreign ministry on Monday accused the United States and Canada of violating Mengs rights and called for her release.

“It is completely a serious political incident,” said a ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang. He urged Canada to “correct mistakes with concrete actions, release Ms. Meng Wanzhou and let her return safely as soon as possible.”

Violation of US sanctions

Washington accuses Huawei of using a Hong Kong shell company to sell equipment to Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions. It says Meng, 47, committed fraud by misleading the HSBC bank about the companys business dealings in Iran.

Meng, who is free on bail and living in one of the two Vancouver mansions she owns, sat next to her lawyers wearing a black dress with white polka dots. She earlier waved at reporters as she arrived at court.

Meng denies the U.S. allegations. Her defense team says comments by President Donald Trump suggest the case against her is politically motivated.

“We trust in Canadas judicial system, which will prove Ms. Mengs innocence,” Huawei said in a statement as the proceedings began.

Meng was detained in December 2018 in Vancouver as she was changing flights – on the same day that Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping met for trade talks.

Prosecutors have stressed that Mengs case is separate from the wider China-U.S. trade dispute, but Trump undercut that message weeks after her arrest when he said he would consider intervening in the case if it would help forge a trade deal with Beijing.

China and the U.S. reached a Phase 1 trade agreement last week, but most analysts say any meaningful resolution of the main U.S. allegation – that Beijing uses predatory tactics in its drive to supplant Americas technological supremacy – could require years of contentious talks. Trump had raised the possibility of using Huaweis fate as a bargaining chip in the trade talks, but the deal announced Wednesday didnt mention the company.

Huawei is the biggest global supplier of network gear for cellphone and internet companies. Washington is pressuring other countries to limit use of its technology, warning they could be opening themselves up to surveillance and theft.

'Fraud allegations are façade'

The initial stage of Mengs extradition hearing this week is focusing on whether Mengs alleged crimes are crimes both in the United States and Canada. HerRead More – Source

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