The high-profile case of a top Huawei official has not been dropped by Canadian authorities, it was announced on Friday, and proceedings to decide whether the company’s chief financial officer will be extradited to the United States will begin next week.
The arrest on December 1 in Vancouver of Meng Wanzhou – who is also the daughter of Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei – stoked controversy from the outset, with China claiming that the law enforcement operation was political.
Meng is accused of financial fraud in connection with a scheme to skirt US sanctions on Iran. Canadian authorities arrested her at the behest of the US Justice Department. Canada has signed an extradition treaty with Washington.
The Canadian government said in a statement that “the decision follows a thorough and diligent review of the evidence in this case. The Department is satisfied that the requirements set out by the Extradition Act for the issuance of an Authority to Proceed have been met and there is sufficient evidence to be put before an extradition judge for decision.”
Following threats from Beijing that Ottawa would face consequences should it not release Meng, Canada’s envoy to China said that the Chinese defendant had a strong case to challenge extradition, citing comments from US President Donald Trump that he would drop the case in exchange for a trade deal with China. The ambassador resigned shortly after making the comments.
Trump has since reiterated his willingness to intervene in a judicial process that Canada has made pains to characterize as independent.
Meng is currently residing in her personal residence in Vancouver on bail. The extradition hearing will not deliberate on her guilt or innocence regarding US charges, the statement from Canadian authorities said, but will simply decide whether her extradition is warranted under the treaty.