Meng Wenzhou extradition hearing starts today

Legal bid to turn over Huawei CFO to U.S. authorities could drag on for years

The much-anticipated extradition hearing for Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. CFO Meng Wenzhou starts today in Vancouver.

Law experts say today’s hearing will likely focus on the scheduling of future hearing dates, adding that extradition cases like this one usually take around three years to resolve — and may stretch out to five to seven years if the defendant has the resources to mount a substantial defence.

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The arrest of Meng on Dec. 1 at Vancouver International Airport at the behest of the U.S. Department of Justice, based on accusations of money laundering, theft of technology and operating in Iran in contravention to American sanctions, has triggered a major rift in Canada-China relations.

On Tuesday, Richardson International, one of Canada’s largest grain processors, said Chinese authorities revoked its permit to export canola into China — a move seen by some as retaliation of Canada’s decision last Friday to allow Meng’s extradition to proceed.

China has said that some Canadian imports are non-compliant to its regulations due to pest and bacteria contamination.

Meng, the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, filed a civil suit against the Canadian government, RCMP and border services on Friday, alleging that she was held for three hours at YVR after her detention without being notified of her rights and the reasons for her arrest. She also alleged officials collected evidence from her without proper notice of her rights.

In addition, Beijing on Monday formally charged two Canadian citizens arrested in China on Dec. 10 — Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor — of stealing state secrets in tandem.

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