The case to extradite Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou from Canada to the United States can continue, judge rules

US prosecutors want Meng to be tried on several counts, including bank fraud and the violation of US sanctions against Iran.
The decision to continue the case could have enormous political implications for Canada, the United States and China. The Chinese government called the decision a “serious political incident” in a statement released on Wednesday on the official Twitter account of the Chinese embassy in Ottawa.
After a four-day hearing before the Vancouver Supreme Court in January, Holmes ruled Wednesday that the US allegations meet Canada’s extradition standard of “double jeopardy”, which examines whether the conduct alleged by the country requesting extradition could be considered a crime under Canadian law. The dual criminality standard is a preliminary step in the extradition case; now that the judge has determined that he has been respected, the Meng case can continue.

The decision does not determine Meng’s guilt or innocence, only if his actions would be considered a crime under Canadian law. Meng and Huawei have denied the US claims.

Meng also claimed that she was illegally detained, searched and interrogated by Canadian border officials during her arrest, allegations which, according to her lawyers, would invalidate the extradition file against her. These requests will be examined by the court at the hearings to come this summer during the extradition procedure.

The Department of Justice Canada said in a statement Wednesday that another hearing later this year “would determine whether or not the alleged conduct provided sufficient evidence of the fraud offense to meet the test for incarceration under of the Extradition Act “.

“An independent judge will determine if this criterion is met,” the statement said. “This demonstrates the independence of the extradition process from Canada.”

Huawei is “disappointed” with the decision, according to a statement released Wednesday by Twitter on Twitter.

“We expect the Canadian justice system to finally prove Ms. Meng’s innocence,” said the statement.

The extradition case

Huawei founder billionaire daughter Ren Zhengfei arrested on demand from the United States in December 2018 at Vancouver airport, where she had to return her passports and agree to live in one of the two houses she owns in the city.

US authorities want Meng to be extradited to New York to face federal charges related to allegations that she lied to HSBC bank about Huawei’s relationship with its Iranian subsidiary Skycom in order to receive funding that violated US economic sanctions against Iran. In February, the US government added racketeering and conspiracy to steal trade secret charges from the indictment. Huawei also denied the new allegations.
The charges come from one of the many U.S. cases active against Huawei.

At the January hearing, Meng’s lawyers argued that what she was charged with did not violate Canadian law, as the US allegations depend on sanctions against Iran that do not exist in Canada. But attorneys for the Attorney General of Canada’s office have argued that the allegations, which include lying to a bank that could cause loss, would amount to a charge of Canadian fraud, and that Meng should therefore be sentenced to extradition.

“Lying to a bank for financial services that create a risk of economic harm is fraud,” said Robert Frater, attorney general’s attorney, at the January hearing, adding that these actions put HSBC at risk of sanctions American for: sanctions for violations and damage to reputation.

The judge’s decision on Wednesday came to a similar conclusion. Holmes wrote in the ruling that Meng’s argument that dual criminality was violated due to the application of the US sanctions “would give fraud an artificially narrow scope in the context of extradition”.

Holmes added: “The dual criminality requirement for extradition can be met in this case. The effects of the US sanctions can rightly play a role in the analysis of dual criminality in the context or context in which the alleged conduct is examined. “

A spokesperson for the United States Department of Justice said in a statement on the decision that “the United States thanks the Government of Canada for its continued assistance under the United States / Canada Extradition Treaty in this matter in Classes”.

A “serious political incident”

The extradition case has drawn Canada into political tension between the United States and China.

The Chinese Embassy in Ottawa issued a Wednesday asking Canada to release Meng.

“The United States and Canada, by abusing their bilateral extradition treaty and arbitrarily taking drastic measures against Ms. Meng Wanzhou, have seriously violated the legitimate rights and interests of the Chinese citizen,” said the statement. the embassy.

The embassy accused the United States of trying to “knock down Huawei and other Chinese tech companies”, adding that Canada had acted “as an accomplice of the United States”. The United States has taken a number of steps to hinder Huawei’s business in the past 18 months, as the country gets tangled up with China on several fronts, ranging from trade and technology to politics.

“The whole affair is a serious political incident”, Added the embassy, ​​calling on Canada “not to go the wrong way.”

The extradition process was complicated after two Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, were arrested in China in December 2019. Beijing has accused them of spying and denies that their arrests are linked to Meng’s case, but they have been seen in Canada as a form of retaliation.

“We have seen China link these two cases from the very beginning. Canada has an independent judiciary, which operates without interference or neutralization from politicians”, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday before the decision in the Meng case. “China does not operate in the same way and does not seem to understand that we have a judicial system independent of any political intervention. We will continue to maintain the independence of our judicial system while we advocate for the release of the 2 Michaels.”

Other Canadian officials, including Minister of Foreign Affairs François-Philippe Champagne, also stressed the independence of the country’s judicial system as the Meng case continues before the courts.

“We will continue to pursue our principled engagement with China in order to resolve our bilateral disputes and cooperate in areas of mutual interest”, Champagne said.

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