VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — The British Columbia Supreme Court on Tuesday approved a schedule for the U.S. extradition case against a senior Huawei executive that would see hearings run into next year.
Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei and daughter of the company’s founder, was arrested by Canadian authorities at Vancouver’s airport in late 2018. The U.S. wants her extradited to face fraud charges, and her arrest infuriated Beijing.
In a letter to Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes, Prosecutor John Gibb-Carsley said the schedule aims to resolve all necessary evidence issues through the summer and early fall, with final arguments taking place in early 2021. Holmes gave her OK to the proposal, which was agreed to by Meng’s lawyers, during a case management conference Tuesday.
Meng is facing fraud charges in the United States but denies the allegations that she misrepresented the company’s relationship with Skycom Tech, putting the HSBC banking company at risk of violating sanctions in Iran.
Hearings in the extradition case have been adjourned until Aug. 17, when the court will meet again for five days to hear arguments over privilege claims in the case.
Meng’s lawyers plan to argue she was subject to an abuse of process when she was arrested in Vancouver’s airport Dec. 1, 2018. A final hearing on that argument is scheduled over three weeks starting Feb. 16, 2021.
Huawei is the biggest global supplier of network gear for phone and internet companies. Some analysts say Chinese companies have flouted international rules and norms amid allegations of technology theft.
In what is widely believed to be an attempt to pressure Canada to release Meng, China arrested former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and Canadian entrepreneur Michael Spavor and charged them with spying.
Meng is free on bail living in her Vancouver mansion. Kovrig and Spavor are jailed, and Canadian diplomats have been refused consular access to them since January.