A Canadian judge has ruled that the US extradition case against a senior Chinese Huawei executive can continue to the next stage.
Canada arrested Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of Huawei’s founder, at Vancouver’s airport in late 2018. The US wants her extradited to face fraud charges. Her arrest infuriated Beijing, which sees her case as a political move designed to prevent China’s rise.
British Columbia Supreme Court Justice Heather Homes ruled the allegations against Meng in the US would also be a crime in Canada if committed there and thus the extradition case against her could continue in Canada.
The US accuses Huawei of using a Hong Kong shell company to sell equipment to Iran in violation of US sanctions. It says Meng, 48, committed fraud by misleading the HSBC bank about the company’s business dealings in Iran.
Meng’s lawyers argued during a hearing in January that the case is really about US sanctions against Iran, not a fraud case. They maintain since Canada does not have similar sanctions against Iran, no fraud occurred.
The ruling against Meng, the company’s chief financial officer, is expected to further harm relations between Beijing and Ottawa.
In apparent retaliation for Meng’s arrest, China detained former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and Canadian entrepreneur Michael Spavor.
China has also placed restrictions on various Canadian exports to China, including canola oil seed. China also handed a death sentence to a convicted Canadian drug smuggler in a sudden retrial.
Huawei is the biggest global supplier of network gear for phone and internet companies and some analysts say Chinese companies have flouted international rules and norms amid allegations of technology theft. The company represents China’s progress in becoming a technological power and has been a subject of US security concerns.
Her legal team is scheduled to be back in court in June and will argue that Canada Border Services, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the FBI violated Meng’s rights while collecting evidence before she was actually arrested. Extradition cases typically take years in Canada.