Extradition hearing for Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou set

Vancouver: An extradition hearing will begin in January for a top executive of the Chinese tech company Huawei wanted by the US on fraud charges.

British Columbia's Supreme Court has accepted a proposal by Meng Wanzhou's defence team to start her hearing January 20, more than a year after she was taken into custody at Vancouver's airport. Defence lawyer David Martin said the schedule could allow the case to wrap up within two years, which he says would be a "record" for such a complicated case.

Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou arrives back at her home after a court appearance in Vancouver in March.Credit:The Canadian Press/AP

The daughter of Huawei's founder wasn't in court on Thursday, Vancouver time.

The United States has charged Meng with lying to banks about Huawei's dealings with Iran in violation of US trade sanctions. Both Meng and Huawei deny any wrongdoing.

Meng is free on bail in Vancouver and living in one of her two multimillion-dollar mansions.

Her arrest at the Vancouver airport set off a diplomatic furor that has had led to the worst relations between Canada and China since the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989.

Meng Wanzhou, back right, is out on bail and remains under partial house arrest in Canada.Credit:The Canadian Press/AP

China detained former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and Canadian entrepreneur Michael Spavor on December 10 in an apparent attempt to pressure Canada to release Meng. Kovrig and Spavor haven't had access to a lawyer since being arrested.

A Chinese court also sentenced a Canadian to death in a sudden retrial on allegations of drug trafficking, overturning a 15-year prison term handed down earlier. China is also blocking imports of the agricultural product canola as well as other products.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Thursday he was worried the ongoing diplomatic dispute could see China target imports of other Canadian agricultural products as concerns grow about soybean shipments in particular.

Ron Davidson, executive director of Soy Canada, said that China's purchases of Canadian soybeans collapsed at the end of last year following a run of very strong exports.

"It's not a slowdown – it's a virtual halt," Davidson said. "We can see what's happening."


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