Canada Expected to Proceed With Extradition Hearing of Chinese Tech Executive
VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Canada was expected to announce on Friday that it would proceed with the extradition hearing of a top executive of Huawei, the Chinese electronics giant, who is wanted on fraud charges in the United States.
The case involving the executive, Meng Wanzhou, who is the chief financial officer and daughter of Huawei’s founder, has entangled Canada in a bitter dispute between the world’s two largest economies.
On Dec. 1 Canadian police officers arrested Ms. Meng at the request of the United States, infuriating China. In January, the United States unveiled an indictment against Ms. Meng and Huawei, outlining what it said were the company’s efforts stretching over many years to steal trade secrets, obstruct a criminal investigation and evade American economic sanctions on Iran.
Ms. Meng’s detention has created a rift in Chinese-Canadian relations. China detained several Canadians and sentenced a Canadian drug smuggler to death in what many in Canada viewed as retaliation.
Huawei has a notable presence in Canada, including research facilities in Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal, and Waterloo, Ontario. It employs about 1,100 people in the country.
As Huawei fights the extradition case, it has been undertaking a major public relations campaign.
This week it published full-page advertisements in several newspapers in the United States inviting journalists to visit its facilities and interview employees under the title: “Don’t believe everything you hear. Come and See Us.”
The company has also been trying to burnish its image in Canada where, among other things, it sponsors Hockey Night In Canada, the weekly ritual for many Canadians.
The Canadian government is under pressure from the United States government to ban Huawei equipment from upcoming improvements to Canada’s wireless networks. American security agencies have expressed concern that Huawei gear can be turned into spy equipment for China, although they have offered no proof publicly to support those claims.
With Ms. Meng’s extradition still pending, two Huawei subsidiaries pleaded not guilty on Thursday to fraud, trade secrets conspiracy and other charges in Seattle. A trial date was set for March 2020.
Both the Seattle case and the extradition case involve charges by American officials that the company stole part of a smartphone testing robot known as Tappy from a T-Mobile lab in Bellevue, Wash., sometime before 2014.
Ms. Meng is out on bail in Vancouver, British Columbia, where she and her husband own two homes. She must wear a GPS tracking device around her ankle.
Canada has a track record of granting about 90 percent of extradition requests, in particular if the country requesting the extradition is a democratic ally like the United States.
The most common reason Canada refuses extradition is if a person faces the death penalty, which does not apply in this case.
Whether the charges against Ms. Meng have been politically motivated can be another consideration. President Trump has said he was willing to intercede in the case if it would help secure a trade deal between the United States and China.
If Canada proceeds with the American extradition request, Ms. Meng’s hearing will begin in Vancouver on March 6.