January 22, 2019 / 7:39 PM / a month ago

U.S. will seek extradition of Huawei CFO from Canada

WASHINGTON/DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department said on Tuesday it will pursue the extradition of the chief financial officer of China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd’s, arrested in Canada in December.

FILE PHOTO: Meng Wanzhou, Huawei Technologies Co Ltd's chief financial officer (CFO), is seen in this undated handout photo obtained by Reuters December 6, 2018. Huawei/Handout via REUTERS /File Photo

The United States has accused Meng Wanzhou of misrepresenting the company’s links to a firm that tried to sell equipment to Iran despite U.S. sanctions. The arrest soured ties between Canada and China, which subsequently detained two Canadians and sentenced a third to death.

The U.S. statement came a day after a report that Canada’s ambassador to the United States said his government was told Washington planned to proceed.

“We will continue to pursue the extradition of defendant Ms. Meng Wanzhou, and will meet all deadlines set by the U.S.-Canada Extradition Treaty,” Justice Department spokesman Marc Raimondi said in a statement.

“We greatly appreciate Canada’s continuing support of our mutual efforts to enforce the rule of law.”

Huawei Chairman Liang Hua told media at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Tuesday that the company was following the issue closely and wanted a quick resolution of the case, but had no direct contact with authorities.

The United States must file a formal request for extradition by Jan. 30. Once it is received, a Canadian court has 30 days to determine if there is enough supporting evidence and the Canadian justice minister must issue a formal order.

Canada has not asked the United States to drop its bid to have Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou extradited, Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland told Bloomberg TV in an interview.

“CONTAINING” HUAWEI

Huawei, the world’s biggest producer of telecoms equipment, faces U.S.-led allegations that its devices present a national security risk. Huawei says such concerns are unfounded.

In an editorial on Wednesday, the state-run China Daily newspaper said Canada was helping the United States try to limit China’s technological advance by “containing” Huawei.

“If Canada does continue to do what is required of it by the U.S., it will certainly see its relations with China, including its trade relations, further deteriorate,” the newspaper warned.

Canada had the choice not to carry out the extradition of Meng on what were trumped-up charges, it added.

It said there was no connection between Meng’s arrest and China’s detention of two Canadians - Michael Kovrig, a diplomat on unpaid leave from the embassy in Beijing, and Michael Spavor, a consultant, on suspicion of endangering state security.

China would “respond” to U.S. actions, foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Tuesday, when asked whether China would retaliate against the United States if Meng was extradited. But she did not elaborate.

In an article on Monday, a former head of Canada’s spy agency said the country should ban Huawei from supplying equipment to its 5G networks. China’s ambassador has threatened repercussions if Ottawa blocks Huawei.

“We’ve talked about it with Germany because we have a good relationship with Germany and our European partners generally, and Germany is having some deliberations of its own too,” Freeland said on Tuesday, regarding possible curbs on Huawei’s access to 5G networks.

The German government is debating whether to follow the United States and allies like Australia in restricting Huawei from accessing its next-generation mobile networks, business daily Handelsblatt said.

Huawei will allow foreign officials to visit its labs, Liang said on Tuesday.

Reporting by Karen Freifeld, Allison Martell in Toronto, Soyoung Kim and Leika Kihara in Davos, and Michael Martina in Beijing; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Clarence Fernandez

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