Update: Reiterating accusations of "political persecution," the Chinese embassy in Canada expressed its "utter dissatisfaction" with Canada's decision to move forward with Meng's extradition.
- CHINESE EMBASSY IN CANADA: MENG CASE 'POLITICAL PERSECUTION'
- CHINA 'UTTERLY DISSATISFIED' WITH MENG EXTRADITION: EMBASSY
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In a landmark - if widely expected - decision, the Department of Justice in Ottawa has ruled that extradition proceedings against Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested on the same day that President Trump and President Xi struck their trade truce in Buenos Aires, will proceed.
Though whether or not she will face trial in the US must still be determined by a Canadian court, a process that could take months or even years, the fact that her extradition is moving forward is still a big moment in a case that has captivated investors and elicited threats of retribution against Ottawa from Beijing.
Meng is wanted in the US on charges of fraud and sanctions violations for her alleged role in deceiving HSBC and other banks into processing transactions for Huawei that were purportedly linked to Iran. US prosecutors filed roughly a dozen charges against Meng and Huawei in January, as well as a formal request for her extradition, according to the BBC.
The ruling, which comes one day after court proceedings against Huawei and its US subsidiary began in a Seattle court room, could reignite tensions between Ottawa and Beijing, which have de-escalated somewhat since Beijing detained several Canadian nationals in what was widely seen as retaliation for Meng's arrest. The decision could also complicate US-China trade talks as Trump and Xi prepare for a meeting later this month where they hope to strike a sweeping trade deal that would prevent further tariffs on exports from the world's second-largest economy.
"An extradition hearing is not a trial nor does it render a verdict of guilt or innocence," the justice department said in a statement on Friday.
"If a person is ultimately extradited from Canada to face prosecution in another country, the individual will have a trial in that country," the department said in a statement on Friday.
While the decision is certainly a blow to Meng, who remains free on bail, a Canadian court will ultimately make the final decision, and could still halt her extradition. There will now be a court hearing on March 6 that will then schedule a date for the hearing.