Canadian judge grants Huawei CFO request to delay hearings

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — A Canadian judge has granted Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou’s request to delay the final leg in her extradition hearings, days before they were set to begin.

British Columbia Supreme Court Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes said Wednesday she will deliver reasons for her decision in writing in the next week or so and a date to resume proceedings will be determined later.

Meng, who was detained in Canada in 2018 at the behest of U.S. authorities, has been fighting a legal battle over the last two years as the U.S. seeks to extradite her over allegations of bank fraud and violations of sanctions against Iran.

The U.S. accuses Huawei of using a Hong Kong shell company called Skycom to sell equipment to Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions. It says Meng committed fraud by misleading HSBC about the company’s business dealings in Iran.

The hearings were scheduled to begin Monday but Meng’s lawyers said they needed more time to review documents related to the case obtained through a Hong Kong court. Huawei said this week that it has reached an agreement with HSBC in Hong Kong to obtain documents Meng hopes will help prevent her extradition to the U.S.

Her lawyers asked Holmes on Monday to adjourn proceedings until Aug. 3, a delay they argued would also allow time for a third wave of COVID-19 to subside in British Columbia.

Lawyers for Canada’s attorney general had argued there’s no justification to delay proceedings in the high-profile case, especially given the public interest.

Meng was arrested at Vancouver’s airport in 2018 at the request of the United States to face fraud charges related to America’s sanctions against Iran, which both she and Huawei deny.

A teleconference has been scheduled with both legal teams for April 28 to determine a new date, which Holmes said should be on or around Aug. 3.

Final hearings of Meng’s extradition battle are expected to conclude then, although appeals could prolong the process for years.