Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou saw nothing resembling a resolution of her ongoing legal battle with the Canadian government after attending a hearing on the matter in front of the Supreme Court of British Columbia on Wednesday.
The gathering scheduled for 10 AM PST was only used by the Canadian prosecutors as a platform for requesting an extension meant to provide them with more time to review their legal options, i.e. motions they could invoke with the goal of honoring the request to extradite Ms. Meng and have her face the United States judicial system. As of late January, she's being charged with numerous criminal transgressions, including a conspiracy to violate stateside trade embargoes placed on Iran and an international bank fraud devised as part of the former.
After being detained during a flight stop in Vancouver on her way to Mexico in late November Ms. Meng was unable to leave Canada, yet posted bail equivalent to $7.5 million and spent the following months under a limited house arrest, wearing an ankle monitor and being without her password.
Following tensions, delays, and initial exchanges of legal blows, the Canadian Justice Department decided Ms. Meng is eligible to be extradited but left the final decision on the matter to the country's judicial system. The Wednesday hearing was meant to follow up on that order and was always unlikely to lead to significant new developments as local prosecutors are doing things by the book and not taking any unnecessary risks.
At the same time, Ms. Meng's legal team is pointing to the drawn-out nature of the case as proof that certain legal principles are already being abused. One of her attorneys claimed her Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms have already been violated, whereas the all-star legal team assembled for the cause already went the route of describing her as a victim of political persecution. Huawei and the U.S. have been on largely bad terms for years now but Ms. Meng's arrest represents an unprecedented escalation that already led to several diplomatic incidents after China started detaining Canadian citizens in an apparent response to the development.
Justice Heather Holmes on Wednesday set the date of Ms. Meng's next hearing for May 8. The next step of the process is hence likely to proceed in a much more low-key fashion seeing how it coincides with this year's iteration of Google I/O in Mountain View, California.
Ms. Meng, a 46-year-old industry veteran and one of three children of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, repeatedly denied any wrongdoing on her part, with her defense being backed by the company itself. She's facing up to three full decades in federal prison if she's extradited to the U.S. Huawei, for its part, is now resolved to sue Washington, albeit not one in direct relation to its CFO's case. Instead, the firm took issue with Capitol Hill's latest spending bill that outlaws the use of its equipment based on what it claims are frivolous allegations of spying. Its chances of winning may not be great but some industry watchers interpret the move as an effort to bring attention to its struggles in the West, which is something Huawei believes would be beneficial in the long run regardless of how the current events play out.