Canadian court dismisses Huawei CFO's application to toss US extradition request0
The British Columbia's Supreme Court in Vancouver, Canada has dismissed Huawei's CFO Meng Wanzhou's request to halt her extradition to the US.
Meng is the daughter of Huawei's founder Ren Zhengfei. She was arrested in late 2018 in Canada at the request of the US for violating sanctions against Iran. US officials want her extradited to their country.
The case centers around the banking relationship between Huawei and multinational investment bank HSBC. Meng is accused of lying to HSBC in 2013 to play down her company's relationship with Hong Kong-based Skycom Tech. Huawei apparently has a controlling stake in Skycom and defrauded banks by getting money cleared for the later using its name.
Skycom was supposedly involved in selling US-made computer equipment to a key Iranian telecommunications company and this violated US sanctions.
Meng says that Huawei just had a normal business relationship with the company and that although the company was once a shareholder and she was a member of Skycom's board of directors, all shares were later sold and she has since resigned from the board. While Meng does not deny that Huawei did business in Iran, she claims it was done through a local subsidiary that Huawei trusted not to transact with HSBC.
Judge rules that US charges against Huawei CFO are also illegal in Canada
Meng's defense had said that the case should be dismissed because the fraud charge levied by the US is for a crime that Canada doesn't consider illegal. They argued that Canada didn't have the same sanctions as the US against Iran when the extradition proceeding was authorized. They further added that banks in Canada are allowed to do business with Iranian entities. Thus, Meng was hoping that the extradition process will not go ahead as it doesn't meet the “double criminality” requirement.
Per the double criminality principle, an extradition request should not be entertained if the conduct that amounts to a criminal offense in a foreign jurisdiction is not considered illegal in the requested state, which in this case is Canada.
The fact that Huawei understated its real relationship to Skycom could have put HSBC at risk for violating US sanctions.
Now, Meng allegedly lied to HSBC and this dishonest conduct satisfies the double criminality requirement. Her alleged misrepresentations put the reputation and finances of HSBC at a risk, even if we don't include the potential implications of US sanctions.
Thus, the court concludes that the double criminality requirement has been met in this case. This means that the extradition process will now continue, provided that the federal justice minister gives it a go-ahead.
Meng is currently under house arrest in Vancouver.