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U.S. Still Seeking Huawei CFO's Extradition, DOJ Official Says

Josh Wingrove and Chris Strohm

(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. is pushing ahead with efforts to get Canada to extradite a top Huawei Technologies Co. executive, the Justice Department said, in a case that has added to trade tensions with China.

“We will continue to pursue the extradition of defendant Ms. Meng Wanzhou, and will meet all deadlines set by the U.S.-Canada Extradition Treaty,” department spokesman Marc Raimondi said Tuesday. “We greatly appreciate Canada’s continuing support in our mutual efforts to enforce the rule of law.”

Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, speaking to Bloomberg Television in Davos, Switzerland, said earlier in the day that Canada hasn’t asked the U.S. to drop its extradition case. She added that Meng would have full access to Canada’s legal system and that it would be “absolutely wrong” for the case to be politicized.

Meng -- the chief financial officer of the Chinese telecommunications giant and the daughter of its founder -- faces U.S. allegations of bank fraud related to sanctions against Iran. She was arrested in Vancouver on Dec. 1 after an extradition request by the U.S. She has denied wrongdoing and is restricted to staying in Vancouver while awaiting further court hearings.

The case -- and China’s subsequent detention of two Canadian nationals -- has prompted a diplomatic feud between Ottawa and Beijing, with each side accusing the other of arbitrary law enforcement. The dispute was complicated by an interview by President Donald Trump with Reuters on Dec. 11, in which he said he would intervene in the case, if he “thought it was necessary” to close a trade deal with China.

Ian McLeod, a spokesman for Canada’s Justice Department, said Canada hasn’t yet received a full, formal extradition request from the U.S.

A Jan. 30 deadline for the U.S. to act falls on the day that China’s top economic official, Vice Premier Liu He, is to arrive in Washington for talks with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

Huawei has been a central concern in U.S. efforts to protect intellectual property rights and secure sensitive data systems.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a news briefing Tuesday in Beijing that Canada “made a mistake from the beginning” in arresting Meng. While she pledged a Chinese response to any further action by the U.S., she declined to say whether the case would affect trade talks.

“What the U.S. did is indeed wrong and we urge the U.S. side to correct its wrongdoing immediately,” Hua said.

Canadians in China have suffered the most since Meng’s Dec. 1 arrest. China detained Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor on suspicion of activities endangering national security while another Canadian, Robert Schellenberg, saw his drug-smuggling sentence increased from 15 years in prison to death.

--With assistance from David Ramli and Karen Leigh.

To contact the reporters on this story: Josh Wingrove in Ottawa at jwingrove4@bloomberg.net;Chris Strohm in Washington at cstrohm1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at bscott66@bloomberg.net, ;Robert Fenner at rfenner@bloomberg.net, Larry Liebert, John Harney

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