Huawei executive's extradition hearing begins

Huawei CFO in Canadian court on fraud charges, faces extradition to US

Relations between Canada and China remain frayed over Meng's December 2018 arrest, done at the behest of USA authorities who want her to face criminal trial in the country over her role in Huawei's alleged attempts to circumvent economic sanctions on Iran.

The meeting coincided with start of Meng's extradition hearing in Vancouver. Beijing has detained two Canadians and restricted imports in moves widely seen as retaliation.

Her defense team insisted that Meng should not be extradited because her alleged conduct was not illegal in Canada.

It is alleged that Meng advised Huawei on how to avoid sanctions on doing business with Iran, which could have put multinational banking organisations at risk of breaking those sanctions too.

Her lead defence lawyer Richard Peck argued in court on Monday that Canada is effectively being asked "to enforce USA sanctions", according to AFP.

"But there's still spaghetti clinging to the wall: you have broad allegations of fraud, and so the position of the crown may be 'well even if the Iranian sanctions material is taken off our desk, we can establish fraud, it's a standalone, not related to Iranian sanctions".

The U.S. alleges that Huawei controlled the operations of its affiliate Skycom in Iran from at least 2007 to 2014, but Meng met with a senior HSBC executive in 2013 and made assurances that Huawei no longer held a shareholding interest in Skycom.

If a judge is satisfied with the evidence presented, he or she will authorise that the individual be committed for extradition.

Gottardi also criticized the attorney general's submissions for being contradictory.

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The motion authorizes the committee to order the prime minister, Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair and Canada's ambassador to China, Dominic Barton, to appear as witnesses "from time to time as the committee sees fit".

The start of the extradition hearing drew a large crowd of members of the public, supporters of Meng and worldwide media. She wore a black polka dot dress and took notes in court with the help of a Mandarin interpreter.

Her husband Liu Xiaozong listened in the courtroom gallery.

"This is entirely a serious political incident that grossly violates the legitimate rights and interests of the Chinese citizen", said Geng Shuang, urging Canada to release Meng.

"We have two Canadians who are being detained", he said, referring to Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.

After the meeting, Conservative member Todd Doherty told reporters that there is no one better than Barton to inform MPs of what is happening with regards to bilateral relations.

Asked to elaborate, Oliphant said "what we need to do is slowly fix the relationship with China", stand for human rights and ensure Canada is seen as a nation of rule of law.

Meanwhile, the Chinese telecoms giant said it stood by its executive "in her pursuit of justice and freedom".

Richard Kurland, a federal policy expert and lawyer who is not involved with the case calls Meng's double criminality argument around the absence of Canadian sanctions against Iran a sure bet.

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