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Release or extradition? Huawei CFO case trial enters final round

After nearly 3 years, the legal proceedings relating to the extradition of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of tech giant Huawei, is now entering its final stages this week at the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.

Meng, who is also the daughter of Huawei's founder, Ren Zhengfei, will appear in court where arguments will determine whether the case, which stir up high-level discussions between US and Chinese authorities in past few weeks, will result in Meng's freedom or her extradition to the US.

The argument between the defense of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei's daughter and the prosecution's indictment representing the US Department of Justice is scheduled to kick off Wednesday morning. 

Huawei Canada said in a statement Monday,"As the case enters its next phase, Huawei remains confident in Ms Meng's innocence. We will, as always, continue to support Ms. Meng's pursuit of justice and freedom."

Media reports said the follow-up hearings would present arguments from Meng's lawyers regarding the alleged "abuse of processes" involving Canadian and US government authorities to use the extradition case to target Huawei executives amid high-politicized arrest, detention and legal processes. The US indictment against Meng selectively overrides key evidence and misleads Canadian courts because it depicts Meng as engaging in fraud by withholding information about Huawei's control of Skycom over HSBC.

Previously, Meng's side submitted new evidence in the form of a bunch of documents obtained from a Hong Kong court. The 300-page documents are in the form of internal communications such as emails, meeting minutes and other reports between executives in HSBC management regarding this case. The documents on the one hand confirm that the bank's management is fully aware of the relationship between Huawei and Skycom, a subsidiary operating in Iran, and thus weakens the US charges against Meng.

However, at the hearing on July 9, Judge Heather Holmes ruled over the documents on the grounds that they were "valuable to Meng's trial" but did not unequivocally and strongly prove that the US charges against Meng were “manifestly false.”

The US wants to extradite Meng on charges of fraud and conspiracy in connection with allegations she lied to an HSBC executive in Hong Kong in 2013 about Huawei's control of Skycom accused of violating US economic sanctions on Iran.

However, statements made by US and Canadian authorities, including then US president Donald Trump regarding Huawei and Meng, implied that the case is highly politicized. Meng's case appears to be used as a pawn in the trade war between the United States and China.

In the next remedy hearing, Meng's defense team hinted that they would seek for the alleged abuse of the process by Canada and the United States. The remedy hearing means lawyers will ask the court to discontinue the extradition case and release Meng on the grounds of abuse of process.

Meng was arrested at Vancouver airport on December 1, 2018, after arriving on a flight from Hong Kong, where she was scheduled to attend a conference in the country in South America. Since being arrested Meng has been under house arrest until now.

Meng's lawyers argued that Canadian government authorities and Canadian Border Services Agency officers violated her constitutional rights at the time of her arrest by questioning her without a lawyer and carrying out a covert criminal investigation at the behest of the US FBI. Meng's rights were violated when she was detained for three hours by Canadian Border Services Agency officers before being notified of her arrest and her right to an attorney.

Huawei continues to have strong confidence that Meng is innocent given the various irregularities surrounding Meng's arrest.

Meanwhile, Canada's Supreme Court held that there was no evidence of a conspiracy between Canadian and US authorities in Meng's extradition process.

After the remedy hearing, the court continue with the committal hearing to decide on the extradition case based on the evidence received by the trial. Although Judge Holmes has yet to announce a verdict date, the trial is scheduled to conclude before 20 August.

2.5 year timeline of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou extradition case

December 1, 2018

Meng was arrested by Canadian authorities at Vancouver airport. The new arrests were made public December 5.

11 December 2018

US President Donald Trump said that he would intervene in the Meng case if the case was useful to the US national interest

January 26 2019

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sacked Canada's ambassador to China John McCallum who commented that Huawei was able to win the extradition case amid Trump's comments to intervene in the case.

15 July 2019

Canada delays decision to allow Huawei to build 5G network in Canada.

27 May 2020

The court ruled that Meng's charges met the requirements of "double criminality" meaning Meng was charged with violating laws in both the US and Canada

November 7, 2020

The retired Canadian police officer who arrested Meng and secretly collected evidence on a US order refused to testify at trial.

February 25, 2021

Meng party sought access to HSBC documents through the court in Hong Kong to present them as new evidence at trial

March 2, 2021

Meng's lawyer said HSBC bankers were "fully aware" of Huawei's control of Skycom and therefore undermined the US charge against Meng that Meng withheld the information.

9 July 2021

Canadian court rejects submission of HSBC documentary evidence

August 4, 2021

Follow-up hearings on abuse of process involving Canadian and US authorities in Meng .'s extradition case