By Moira Warburton
VANCOUVER (Reuters) – Huawei Technologies Co Ltd. Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou will appear in a Canadian court on Monday as her U.S. extradition case enters its last phase of arguments leading to a final hearing in May.
Meng, 49, was arrested in December 2018 at Vancouver International Airport on a U.S. warrant for allegedly misleading HBSC about Huawei’s business dealings in Iran and causing the bank to violate U.S. sanctions.
She has since been fighting the case from under house arrest in Vancouver and has said she is innocent.
After two years of legal proceedings, Meng’s case now enters the final stretch leading up to a decision from Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes in British Columbia’s Supreme Court on whether to extradite her, pending approval from the federal minister of justice.
Beginning Monday, the court will hear arguments regarding allegations that Canadian and U.S. authorities committed legal missteps during Meng’s initial questioning and arrest, which her lawyers say should invalidate her extradition.
Witness testimony on these allegations concluded in December 2020.
Meng’s team has previously argued that the extradition should be rejected due to the alleged political interference by then-U.S. President Donald Trump in her case.
Canadian prosecutors representing the federal government assert that appropriate processes were followed. They have argued that now that Trump is no longer president his comments are moot, and that their influence is best judged by a politician, not a judge.
The case has caused a frost in relations between Ottawa and Beijing. Shortly after Meng’s arrest, China detained two Canadians – Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig – on espionage charges, which Canada has called retaliation.
On Thursday China’s Global Times reported that Spavor and Kovrig’s trial would take place “soon,” citing an anonymous source. The Global Times is published by the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of China’s ruling Communist Party.
Hearings are scheduled to finish in May, but the potential for appeals from either side means the case could drag on for years.
(Reporting by Moira Warburton in Vancouver; Editing by Denny Thomas and Sonya Hepinstall)