Canadian judge refuses to quash US extradition bid for Huawei CFO

A Canadian judge has declined to invalidate a request from the US for the extradition of the Chief Financial Officer of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei.

Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, is being sought by Washington on charges that she committed bank fraud and violated US sanctions on Iran by misleading banks about the business her company allegedly conducted in that country through a subsidiary called Skycom, reports Efe news.

Attorneys for Meng argued that because Canada is not a party to the US sanctions, the charges against her do not constitute a crime under Canadian law.

But in the ruling issued on Wednesday, Heather Holmes, associate chief justice of the provincial Supreme Court in British Columbia, said that Meng’s interpretation of “the double criminality analysis would seriously limit Canada’s ability to fulfil its international obligations in the extradition context for fraud and other economic crimes”.

“Canada’s law of fraud looks beyond international boundaries to encompass all the relevant details that make up the factual matrix, including foreign laws that may give meaning to some of the facts,” Holmes wrote.

Meng was arrested by Canada at the request of the US on December 1, 2018, in Vancouver, where she was making a stopover on a trip from Hong Kong to Mexico City.

In an indictment unsealed in January 2019, the US Department of Justice said the charges against Huawei and Meng “relate to a long-running scheme by Huawei, its CFO, and other employees to deceive numerous global financial institutions and the US government regarding Huawei’s business activities in Iran”.

Meng was released on bail 10 days after her arrest and now resides with her family in one of two mansions she owns in Vancouver.

She is required to wear a GPS ankle bracelet and pay for her own 24/7 surveillance.

After Meng’s arrest, China froze diplomatic and trade relations with Canada and accused Ottawa of violating the human rights of one of its citizens.

Beijing also detained two Canadian citizens – former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor – and continues to hold them on charges of endangering China’s national security.