VANCOUVER — A B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled against Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou on Wednesday in a key legal argument in her extradition case. Here are five things to know about the case:
The accusation: Meng is accused of making false statements to HSBC, significantly understating Huawei’s relationship with its Iranian affiliate Skycom Tech Co., and putting the bank at risk of violating U.S. sanctions against Iran. She has denied any wrongdoing.
The ruling: Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes says the allegations against Meng could constitute a crime in Canada. Meng’s defence team argued that the conduct could not have amounted to fraud in Canada because it relates entirely to the effects of U.S. economic sanctions against Iran. Because Canada had no such sanctions, they said the case should be thrown out.
What’s next: The ruling means the court will continue to hear other arguments in the extradition case, including whether Meng’s arrest at the Vancouver airport in December 2018 was unlawful. It also means the 48-year-old chief financial officer of Huawei will not be permitted to return to China and must remain in Canada.
The next phase: The court will consider defence allegations that the Canada Border Services Agency, the RCMP and Federal Bureau of Investigation conspired to conduct a “covert criminal investigation” at the airport when Meng was arrested. Border officers detained Meng for three hours, seized her electronic devices and passcodes and handed them to the RCMP. Meng did not have access to a lawyer during the detainment and a border guard questioned her about Huawei’s business in Iran. A lawyer for the Attorney General of Canada has said border officers are required by law to conduct an admissibility examination on all travellers entering Canada and the passcodes were given to the Mounties by mistake.
Final decision: If the judge rules Meng should be extradited to face charges at the end of her extradition hearing, Justice Minister David Lametti will still have the final say on whether to surrender her to the United States.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 27, 2020.
The Canadian Press