Huawei’s Meng appears in court as Canada mulls US extradition

Acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker announcing the charges

Huawei Technologies' chief financial officer, the central figure in a high-stakes dispute between the world's two largest economies, made her first appearance in a Canadian court in more than a month as Ottawa weighs extraditing the Chinese executive to the United States.

The U.S. Department of Justice on Monday laid out a 10-count indictment charging Huawei with theft of trade secrets from T-Mobile. If granted, Ms Meng's case would be sent to the British Columbia Supreme Court for an extradition hearing, which could take weeks or months.

News of the charges comes just as the White House is making plans for a team of high-level economic advisers to meet a delegation from China later this week to talk trade between the two countries.

Officials of the administration of President Donald Trump say the Huawei case and the trade negotiations are separate issues.

Meng was originally scheduled to appear in court on February 6, but her lawyer asked that it to be pushed back a month to allow time for her defence counsel to prepare.

He then urged the United States to drop its extradition request and for Canada to "stop pulling the chestnuts out of the fire" for its North American neighbor.

But acting US Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said there was nothing in the indictment that alleged Chinese government involvement in either case.

"Today we are announcing that we are bringing criminal charges against telecommunications giant Huawei and its associates for almost two dozen alleged crimes", acting Attorney General Matthew G. Whitaker said.

The charges include bank fraud, money laundering, obstruction of justice and sanction violations.

The US Justice Department on Monday charged Chinese telecom giant Huawei and its CFO Meng Wanzhou - now under the watch of law enforcers in Canada after being arrested at the behest of the US - for trade and financial violations and attempt to steal intellectual property.

The United States and Canada arbitrarily misused the bilateral extradition treaty between them to unjustifiably take compulsory measures against a Chinese citizen, which has severely violated the Chinese citizen's safety and legitimate rights and interests, Geng said.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in a statement Monday that Huawei and its CFO "willfully conducted millions of dollars in transactions that were in direct violation of the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations". It has been argued that Huawei tried to hamper investigation by destroying evidence and moving staff out of the US.

VANCOUVER-Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou was granted changes to her bail conditions in a Vancouver court on January 29.

The Justice Department in Canada informed media sources a formal request for Meng's extradition had been received from the United States.

"The Company denies that it or its subsidiary or affiliate have committed any of the asserted violations of USA law set forth in each of the indictments, is not aware of any wrongdoing by Meng, and believes the US courts will ultimately reach the same conclusion".

In 2012, Huawei began a campaign to steal information on a phone-testing robot to be used by T-Mobile called "Tappy".

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