The U.S. will seek extradition of Meng Wanzhou, CFO of Huawei, by the January 31 deadline, David MacNaughton, Canada’s ambassador to the U.S., told the Toronto Globe and Mail (subscription required). A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Justice confirmed the move.
Meng, arrested at the beginning of December 2018 in Canada at the behest of the U.S., is currently in Canada on bail as she awaits further legal proceedings. She is expected to be charged with misleading banks regarding the relationship between Huawei and a firm alleged to have attempted to sell U.S. equipment to an Iranian customer in defiance of a U.S. ban on such sales (see “U.S. seeks to charge Huawei CFO with bank fraud”).
The daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, Meng is due back in court February 6. Whether that date would be moved as a result of a U.S. extradition request is unknown. Her arrest occurred as the U.S. and China are engaged in contentious trade talks. President Donald Trump told Reuters that he would consider intervening in the case if it would aid in getting a favorable deal with China (see “Huawei CFO granted bail; Trump considers intervention”). The President helped remove a ban imposed by the U.S. Commerce Department on ZTE last year that denied the Chinese telecommunications firm access to U.S. technology (see "Trump tweets support of lifting ZTE ban").
However, it appears the U.S. is prepared to proceed with bringing formal charges against Meng. “We will continue to pursue the extradition of defendant Ms. Meng Wanzhou, and will meet all deadlines set by the U.S./Canada Extradition Treaty,” said Department of Justice Spokesman Marc Raimondi in a statement published by Reuters and others. “We greatly appreciate Canada’s continuing support of our mutual efforts to enforce the rule of law.”
Meanwhile, the Chinese government continued its protests of Meng’s arrest. “The Meng Wanzhou case is obviously not an ordinary judicial case. Canada and the U.S. arbitrarily abusing their bilateral extradition treaty severely infringes upon the security and legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens,” declared China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying during a daily press briefing (translation here). “We urge the Canadian side to immediately release Ms. Meng Wanzhou and earnestly ensure her legal and legitimate rights and interests. We also strongly urge the U.S. side to immediately correct its mistake, withdraw its arrest order for Ms. Meng Wanzhou, and refrain from making formal extradition request to the Canadian side.”
Asked about on the larger question of the concern among the U.S. and some of its allies about potential security concerns rising from the use of communications equipment sourced from Huawei, ZTE, and other Chinese firms, Hua was dismissive. “We keep stressing that security issues need to be backed up by facts. The U.S., Canada, and several of their so-called allies have been going all out to create a sense of panic worldwide to the effect that whoever uses China's hi-tech communications equipment will be spied on by China. But, do they have any evidence?! No. If they can offer no evidence, they'd better halt their ridiculous blabbering which only makes them a laughingstock for all,” she commented.
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