(Reuters) - Lawyers for Huawei’s chief financial officer urged Canada’s justice minister on Monday to withdraw extradition proceedings against Meng Wanzhou, who has been detained in Vancouver since December on U.S. fraud charges.
Meng, 47, the daughter of Huawei Technologies Co Ltd’s founder, Ren Zhengfei, was arrested on charges alleging she misled global banks about Huawei’s relationship with a company in Iran.
She has denied any wrongdoing, and Huawei pleaded not guilty in a New York court in March, but the matter has sparked tensions between China, which has demanded her release, and Canada.
After Meng’s arrest, China detained two Canadians and later formally charged them with espionage. Canada says the arrest of the two men was arbitrary. China has also blocked imports of Canadian canola seed and has increased scrutiny of pork.
In a statement, Meng’s lawyers said they sent a letter to Justice Minister David Lametti asking him to withdraw the extradition proceedings.
“The extradition proceedings are without merit and cessation of the proceedings would be in the best interests of Canada’s national interests,” the statement said.
The ministry said it “cannot confirm receipt of the letter,” adding only that Canada “respects the rule of law” and was following its extradition procedures.
Earlier this month, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland dismissed a suggestion that Ottawa block the extradition, saying there has been no political interference and that doing so would set a dangerous precedent.
Meng’s Canadian lawyers said neither Canada nor the United States had jurisdiction in the matter and that Meng’s extradition was sought for “political purposes.”
The case against Meng and Huawei, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment maker, has also ratcheted up tensions between Beijing and Washington. The world’s two largest economies have been waging almost a year-long trade war.
U.S. President Donald Trump said in December he would intervene with the U.S. Justice Department if it would help secure a deal with China.
Reporting by Karen Freifeld in New York and Steve Scherer in Ottawa; Editing by Susan Thomas and Peter Cooney