Extradition hearing for Huawei executive set for January

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — An extradition hearing will begin in January for a top executive of the Chinese tech company Huawei wanted by the U.S on fraud charges.

British Columbia's Supreme Court on Thursday accepted a proposal by Meng Wanzhou's defense team to start her hearing Jan. 20, more than a year after she was taken into custody at Vancouver's airport. Defense lawyer David Martin said the schedule could allow the case to wrap up within two years, which he says would be a "record" for such a complicated case.

The daughter of Huawei's founder wasn't in court Thursday.

The United States has charged Meng with lying to banks about Huawei's dealings with Iran in violation of U.S. trade sanctions. Both Meng and Huawei deny any wrongdoing.

Meng is free on bail in Vancouver and living in one of her two multimillion-dollar mansions.

Her arrest at the Vancouver airport set off a diplomatic furor that has had led to the worst relations between Canada and China since the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989.

China detained former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and Canadian entrepreneur Michael Spavor on Dec. 10 in an apparent attempt to pressure Canada to release Meng. Kovrig and Spavor haven't had access to a lawyer since being arrested.

A Chinese court also sentenced a Canadian to death in a sudden retrial on allegations of drug trafficking, overturning a 15-year prison term handed down earlier. China is also blocking imports of the agricultural product canola as well as other products. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday he's worried the ongoing diplomatic dispute could see China target imports of other Canadian agricultural products as concerns grow about soybean shipments in particular.

Ron Davidson, executive director of Soy Canada, said that China's purchases of Canadian soybeans collapsed at the end of last year following a run of very strong exports.

"It's not a slowdown — it's a virtual halt," Davidson said. "We can see what's happening."

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