Lawyers for Huawei CFO ask Canadian justice minister to help

TORONTO — Lawyers for a top Huawei executive called on Canada’s justice minister Monday to intervene and stop a U.S. extradition request.

The group of four lawyers for Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou asked Justice Minister David Lametti for help and issued a statement saying that the case had become politicized.

“Palpably, it is brought for political purposes as opposed to legitimate criminal law enforcement reasons,” they said.

They also said that Meng would not have been charged in Canada for the alleged crime.

Canada arrested Meng at the request of the U.S. on Dec. 1 at Vancouver’s airport. The United States has charged her with lying to banks about Huawei’s dealings with Iran in violation of U.S. trade sanctions.

A spokeswoman for Lametti noted the case is before the courts and declined to comment. Meng’s extradition hearings begin in January.

The telecoms executive’s arrest set off a diplomatic furor among the three countries, complicating high-stakes U.S.-China trade talks and severely damaging Beijing’s relations with Ottawa.

China detained former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and Canadian entrepreneur Michael Spavor and sentenced another Canadian to death in an apparent attempt to pressure for her release. China has also stopped importing certain Canadian products like canola.

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