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Canada begins to extradite China’s Huawei CFO to US

Huawei Finance Chief Meng Wanzhou. (Mfc/Ropi via ZUMA Press/TNS)
March 01, 2019

Canada has begun the process for Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou to be extradited to the U.S. where she will face charges related to violating sanctions imposed on Iran.

“Today, Department of Justice Canada officials issued an Authority to Proceed, formally commencing an extradition process in the case of Ms. Meng Wanzhou,” according to a Canadian Justice Department statement.

The British Columbia Supreme Court scheduled an extradition hearing for March 6, during which it will officially file evidence and arguments on public record, a process typical for the extradition procedure.

A judge will then hear the case to decide whether or not to commit the subject to extradition, and a Justice Minister then makes the final decision on the subject’s extradition.

Meng, who is the daughter of the tech giant’s founder Ren Zhengfei, was arrested in early December in Vancouver at the request of the U.S., who has also since requested her extradition.

In January, the U.S. Department of Justice charged Meng with bank fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud.

Meng is accused of lying to banks about Huawei’s relationship with its Iranian affiliate Skycom Tech and falsely presenting it as an unrelated entity. In reality, Skycom remained a long-term Iranian subsidiary of Huawei, with Meng serving on its board of directors.

As a result of Meng falsely presenting the companies’ connection, banking partners processed hundreds of millions of dollars of Skycom’s transactions through the U.S. when those Iran-originated transactions were prohibited by sanctions.

Similarly, Huawei also lied to U.S. authorities about its ties with Skycom, even providing false information when questioned about its business in Iran that may have violated sanctions or laws.

Huawei took its deceptive practice a step further when it “orchestrated the purported sale of Skycom to another Huawei-controlled entity,” then asserted to the FBI that “Huawei did not have any direct dealings with Iranian companies and that Huawei operated in compliance with all U.S. export laws,” according to a DOJ statement.

The U.S. Department of Justice had been probing Huawei’s dealings with Iran since April 2018, and the company is suspected of violating sanctions imposed on Iran for more than two years.

Huawei is highly regarded in China. It is the second leading smartphone company in the world, and is the largest producer of cellular and internet networking equipment.