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  • Meng Wanzhou, Executive Board Director of the Chinese technology giant Huawei.

    Meng Wanzhou, Executive Board Director of the Chinese technology giant Huawei. | Photo: Reuters

Published 2 March 2019

"Department of Justice Canada officials issued an Authority to Proceed, formally commencing an extradition process in the case of Ms. Meng Wanzhou," said a statement by the Canadian government. 

Canada has decided to put forward the extradition of Huawei's Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou to the United States before the courts. Meng has been out on bail since December pending a decision. 

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The move is expected to escalate rifts between Canada and China, and also contribute to fears that it will exacerbate the trade war between the U.S. and China, which could significantly decrease global expected growth, according to the International Monetary Fund.

The government issued a release on the matter, stating that the "Department of Justice Canada officials issued an Authority to Proceed, formally commencing an extradition process in the case of Ms. Meng Wanzhou."

Meng is being accused of violating U.S. sanctions on Iran by allegedly misleading bankers about Huawei's relationship with Iran affiliates, particularly Skycom. 

The Huawei executive is wanted in the United States on 13 charges relating to alleged actions between 2007 and 2017. She could face up to 30 years in jail if convicted.

Evidence against Meng, daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, will be presented on her court date scheduled for March 6. Canada's attorney general will be responsible for deciding whether to proceed with the extradition or not, a process which could last months or even years.

China has repeatedly expressed its opposition to the move, calling it "political persecution," and demands Meng be released.

Huawei denies any misconduct and says the United States seeks to undermine the company.

"The United States and a few of its allies are using double standards and deliberately misleading the public on the issue. They use the issue as an excuse for suppressing the legitimate development rights and interests of Chinese enterprises, using political means to intervene in economic behaviors. It's hypocritical, immoral and unfair bullying behaviors," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang expressed.

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Canadian Prime Minister (PM) Justin Trudeau has declared that the government wishes to deal with the process in a "hands-off" way, by not interfering or questioning the request from their neighbor. The PM added that "Canada is a country governed by rule of law." 

Trudeau’s government is currently being questioned about its commitment to the standard after former attorney general and justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould accused the prime minister, and his inner circle, of trying to sway her decision on whether or not to negotiate a settlement for criminal charges against Quebec-based company SNC-Lavalin. 

Trudeau has also fired Canada's ambassador to China John McCallum, saying he undermined the position by telling reporters he believed Meng had "strong legal arguments" in her favor regarding extradition to the United States.

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