The Canadian government on Friday approved the extradition proceedings against Huawei’s chief financial officer (CFO) Meng Wanzhou. However, as expected, a furious China hasn’t taken this too kindly. Denouncing the decision, it sought for Meng’s release. Meng, the daughter of Huawei’s founder, was detained in Vancouver in December 2018 and is under house arrest. In late January, the US Justice Department charged Meng and Huawei with conspiring to violate US sanctions on Iran.
The US Department of Justice in its 13-count indictment charged Huawei and Meng with financial fraud. The indictment also accuses Huawei, its CFO, and other employees to deceive numerous global financial institutions and the US government regarding Huawei’s business activities in Iran. Another 10-count indictment in Seattle, charged Huawei Device Co with theft of trade secrets, seven counts of wire fraud, and one count of obstruction of justice.
Meng is supposed to appear before a court in Vancouver on March 6, when a date will be set for her extradition hearing.
“Today, department of Justice Canada officials issued an authority to proceed, formally commencing an extradition process in the case of Ms. Meng Wanzhou,” the government said in a statement as quoted by news agency Reuters.
US Justice Department spokeswoman Nicole Navas Oxman said Washington thanked the Canadian government for its assistance. “We greatly appreciate Canada’s steadfast commitment to the rule of law,” she said in a statement as quoted by the news agency.
A final decision will likely come down to the federal justice minister, who will have to decide between angering the United States by rejecting the extradition bid, and China by accepting it.
US President Donald Trump had told Reuters in December he would intervene if it served national security interests or helped close a trade deal with China, prompting Ottawa to stress the extradition process should not be politicised.
After Meng’s detention, Canada and China’s relation has only gone downhill. China had arrested two Canadians on national security grounds, and a Chinese court later sentenced to death a Canadian man who previously had only been jailed for drug smuggling.