VANCOUVER, British Columbia — A Canadian judge has refused to give an immediate ruling on her decision that will decide whether the CFO of the Chinese tech giant Huawei will be extradited to the United States.
Judge Heather Holmes, British Columbia Supreme Court in Vancouver wrapped up a four-day hearing on the case and said she will announce her decision at a later day after the first stage of an extradition hearing on Huawei’s CFO Meng Wanzhou, who is also the daughter of its founder Ren Zhengfei and has been with the company for more than 20 years.
Ms. Meng was arrested by the Canadian Police at the Vancouver International Airport while changing flights on December 1, 2018, at the request of the United States for allegedly defrauding multiple financial institutions in breach of US imposed bans on dealing with Iran. Huawei is being accused of selling equipment to Iran via a shell company in Hlong Kong, which violates US sanctions.
The law in the spotlight for this case is the US-Canada extradition treaty, the “Dual Criminality” clause, which infers that relevant parties will only be extradited if their alleged actions constitute a crime in both countries. Ms. Meng’s legal team argues that what Ms. Meng has been accused of, the alleged violations of sanctions against Iran, is not a crime in Canada.
One controversy of the case also lies in the fact that Ms. Meng met with HSBC executives in Hong Kong, a place where Canada does not have the legal ruling extended to extraterritorial jurisdiction. Legal experts point out that even if Ms. Meng violates the U.S. laws in the scenario, Canada has no right to prosecute her on this case.
The United States has claimed that the fraudulent banking charges were the major reason for Ms. Meng’s extradition from Canada, but observers have pointed out that packing the case into a crime of fraud is a clear intention to maneuver the case to meet the legal conditions for extradition in Canada, which is seen as a sign of obstruction of justice.
The US-China relations are closely tied to the results of the trial. U.S. President Trump has made it clear that he would leave the extradition case alone if his expectations on the trade agreement with China are met.
To watchers who follow the case closely, the Huawei case is being used as a pawn in the US and China’s political games, a chip for the United States to contain China on 5G, for instance. While the United States is wielding its power in an effort to extradite Huawei’s Ms. Meng, China detained former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and Canadian entrepreneur Michael Spavor.
Legal experts predict that Ms. Meng’s trial could continue for a long time as her legal team could appeal to the results by the Canadian judge. If the judge rules that what Ms. Meng is charged with is not a crime in Canada, Meng will be free to leave Canada.
The second phase of Ms. Meng’s extradition hearing, is scheduled for June.
Ms. Meng’s legal team is expected to consider defense allegations that Canada Border Services, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the FBI violated Ms. Meng’s rights while collecting evidence before she was actually arrested.