After her arrest at Vancouver International Airport last December, Canada’s Department of Justice announced today that it has issued an Authority to Proceed, formally commencing an extradition process in the case of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou.
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The decision follows a “thorough and diligent review” of the evidence in this case, the Justice Department said. “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.”
Meng was arrested on December 1 while she was transferring flights at YVR. A spokesperson for the Department of Justice Canada told Daily Hive at the time that Meng was being sought for extradition by the United States.
Following her arrest, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Geng Shuang responded to the news, demanding clarification regarding the reason for her arrest – as well as her immediate release.
“Neither the US nor Canada has made any clarification on the reason for the detention so far,” he said at the time.
Following his remarks, reports surfaced, that said the US is claiming that Meng “covered up” violations of sanctions on Iran. This is also believed to have helped Huawei “circumvent US sanctions by telling financial institutions that a Huawei subsidiary was a separate company.”
US National Security Adviser John Bolton also chimed in on the case, claiming that his country has had “enormous concerns for years” about “the practice… of Chinese firms to use stolen American intellectual property.”
Huawei, he explained, is one company the US has been particularly concerned about.
Now, following Friday’s announcement, the justice department said that the BC Supreme Court has scheduled an appearance date for March 6, 2019, at 10 am, “to confirm that an Authority to Proceed has been issued and to schedule the date for the extradition hearing.”
During the extradition hearing, the Crown will make its detailed arguments in its submissions to the Court, where evidence will be filed and become part of the public record.
An extradition hearing is not a trial nor does it render a verdict of guilt or innocence.
If a person is ultimately extradited from Canada to face prosecution in another country, the individual will have a trial in that country.
While court proceedings are underway, Meng, who is the daughter of Huawei’s founder, Ren Zhengfei, will remain on bail subject to her existing conditions, which include residing at one of her two residences in Vancouver while being required to wear an electronic monitoring device on her ankle and surrender her passports.
She has previously denied any wrongdoing in connection with the case.
“My father founded Huawei and I would never do anything that would cause the company reputational damage,” she wrote in a sworn affidavit. “I maintain that I am innocent of the allegations that have been levelled at me.”
Meng added that she does “not have a criminal record in China or anywhere, and has never had any problems with law enforcement in China or abroad.”