Global News-American authorities are facing a key deadline at the end of the month to formally request the extradition of Huawei executive, Meng Wanzhou, from Canada to the United States.
Friday, a spokesman for Canada’s Justice Department said the U.S. had yet to file the required paperwork in the Meng case and stated the Americans have until Jan. 30 to do so. If the U.S. misses the deadline, lawyers with expertise in extradition cases say the door could open for Meng’s eventual release.
Canadian police arrested Meng at Vancouver’s airport Dec. 1 at the request of American authorities, who are seeking her extradition on fraud allegations. They say she lied to American banks as part of a scheme to get Huawei business around United States sanctions against Iran.
Her arrest has infuriated Beijing and the case is at the centre of an increasingly testy diplomatic dispute between Canada and China. The Chinese government says Meng has done nothing wrong and has demanded her release, warning Canada of severe consequences if it doesn’t free Meng.
Under Canada’s extradition law, the U.S. was given 60 days from the date of Meng’s arrest to make its formal extradition request.
“They have until Jan. 30, 2019 to submit this request. Canada then has a further 30 days to determine whether to issue an authority to proceed.”
The U.S. Department of Justice declined to say very much about the Meng case except that it’s not affected by the partial shutdown of the federal government there. Thousands of federal workers have been sent home without salary because of a budget stalemate between Congress and President Donald Trump.
China issues new warning if Canada bans Huawei.
China says Meng Wanzhou didn’t break any Canadian laws, defends detainment of Canadian nationals.
Meng, Huawei’s chief financial officer, is out on $10 million bail and is staying at her Vancouver home. She has been ordered to appear in a Vancouver courtroom on Feb. 6 to fix a date for further proceedings.
Lawyer Donald Bayne, who represented Ottawa professor Hassan Diab as he fought extradition on French terrorism charges for years, said it’s not particularly unusual that U.S. authorities had yet to submit the formal request for Meng so late in the 60-day period.
He thinks they’ll make the deadline.
“The American having caused all of this so far — would never be able to say with a straight face, ‘Yeah, we’ve decided not to go ahead’ or ‘Gosh, there was nothing to our case,’ ” said Bayne, who’s based in Ottawa.
In the days that followed Meng’s arrest, China detained two Canadians. Michael Kovrig, a Canadian diplomat on leave, and Michael Spavor, an entrepreneur, were taken in on vague allegations of engaging in activities that have endangered China’s national security.