B.C. court rules Huawei exec extradition process can continue

B.C. court rules Huawei exec extradition process can continue

Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou was all smiles as she left her Vancouver mansion Wednesday morning to go to court.

But inside the courthouse, the daughter of the telecom giant’s founder was dealt a major blow.

A B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled that extradition proceedings against the 48-year-old should proceed.

“We’re obviously disappointed in the decision but our view is this is an early step in what’s likely to be a much long process for Meng Wanzhou in Canada,” says Huawei Canada vice-president Alykhan Velshi.

Meng’s accused of allegedly deceiving banks into a possible violation of U.S. economic sanctions against Iran.

In the highly-anticipated, so-called ‘double criminality’ decision, Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes found the U.S. fraud charge would be a crime in Canada.

The defence tried to argue it wasn’t because Canada no longer has sanctions against Iran.

But Holmes said the essence of the alleged crime is fraud.

“Fraud is broad, that is the heart of the decision,” explains lawyer and policy analyst, Richard Kurland.

“To narrow the definition of fraud in an extradition context, as suggested by defence, in long term would not be in interest of the global extradition system.”

Meng was arrested at Vancouver’s airport on an extradition warrant at the end of 2018.

China responded by targetting Canadian canola and meat imports.

Within days of the arrest, two Canadians working in China were accused of spying and have been in custody ever since.

And now, further retaliation is expected.

“I expect China to ratchet up trade sanctions and to introduce economic penalties to be imposed on Canada,” Kurland says.

Hearings still have to be held on whether there’s sufficient evidence to warrant extradition and claims Meng’s charter rights were violated.

But either way, it’s a political hot potato for Canada because Ottawa will have the final say on extradition.

Read more on the case here

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