Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou is slated to appear in court in Vancouver, British Columbia on Wednesday (8 May) to fight her potential extradition to the US. It is one step in what legal experts assume will be a long and drawn-out process that was kicked off in December 2018 when Meng was apprehended as she prepared to board a connecting flight in Canada.
Meng, who is the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, was arrested at the behest of the United States for allegedly violating its export and sanction laws by shipping US-origin products to Iran.
China’s embassy said it staunchly opposes the arrest and called for her release. Meanwhile Huawei, which is one of the largest smartphone produces in the world, maintains that it is “not aware of any wrongdoing by Ms Meng” and roundly denies the allegations. The company claims that it previously tried to discuss the arrest with the US department of justice but that its request was “rejected without explanation”.
China has put increasing economic and diplomatic pressure on Canada over its decision to execute the arrest requested by the US. Already, lawyers for the defence have raised concerns about the political dimension of the case, noting that US president Donald Trump suggested he would intervene if doing so would help to secure a trade deal with China.
Whispers of Huawei across the pond
Political figures on both sides of the pond have been discussing Huawei in heated tones, with the US secretary of state Mike Pompeo expected to warn UK prime minister Theresa May about allowing the Chinese firm to be involved in the building of the UK’s 5G mobile network.
The network has already been embroiled in major political scandal after UK defence secretary Gavin Williamson was forced to resign amid leaks of details from a National Security Council meeting. Though Downing Street has said it saw “compelling” evidence that Williamson was the source of the leaks, he strenuously denied the allegations.
The Trump administration has said it will not give Huawei any 5G contracts due to concerns that it would leverage the technology to spy on the US. The US will also, according to the BBC’s diplomatic correspondent James Landale, warn that it may reduce its UK presence in the event that Huawei had access to critical data.
Theresa May has already ordered that Huawei be banned from providing core parts of the future 5G network.
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