A Canadian court has ruled that the US charges against Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou are sufficient to allow the extradition case against her to proceed.
Last year, the US requested Meng to be extradited to face trial for charges of bank fraud and violating sanctions. Her lawyers argued that she could not be transferred from Canada due to the ‘double criminality’ standard, under which in order for her to be extradited, her actions must also have contravened Canadian law.
A core tenet of Meng’s defence was that unlike the US, Canada had not imposed trade sanctions on Iran – a key factor since Meng is accused of attempting to circumvent these sanctions. However, the prosecution countered that the charges would constitute fraud whether sanctions were in effect or not.
In the ruling, a British Columbia Supreme Court judge stated that while “US sanctions are part of the state of affairs necessary to explain” why Meng took her alleged actions, “they are not themselves an intrinsic part” of any resulting alleged fraud, noting that upholding the defence’s argument “would give fraud an artificially narrow scope” and “seriously limit Canada’s ability to fulfil its international obligations in the extradition context for fraud and other economic crimes”.
Huawei stated that it was “disappointed” by the ruling, but it believes that “Canada’s judicial system will ultimately prove Ms. Meng’s innocence”. Meng will now be required to remain in Canada, where she has been under house arrest since being detained in December 2018.
Meng’s arrest itself will be the subject of a hearing in June. She was apprehended under the guise of a routine immigration check, and the hearing aims to establish whether this approach in fact violated Meng’s constitutional rights. Further hearings will attempt to establish whether there is sufficient evidence to extradite Meng, and whether Canadian law would deem an extradition “unjust or oppressive.”