Huawei’s CFO, Meng Wanzhou, facing bank fraud charges in the United States, suffered a setback in Canadian courts Wednesday, when a judge agreed that the case met the standards of double criminality.
In January, the court in Vancouver, British Columbia, started the hearings on the accusations of bank fraud against Meng in the U.S. would also be considered a criminal offense in Canada.
Meng is facing extradition to the U.S. after she was arrested in December 2018 in Canada. Authorities in the U.S. accuse her of misleading HSBC Holdings plc (NYSE: HSBC) regarding Huawei’s relationship with a company in Iran, thus making the bank liable for violating U.S. sanctions against Iran, reported Reuters.
Meng’s lawyers argued that the case should be dismissed as there are no Canadian sanctions against Iran. However, British Columbia’s Superior Court Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes ruled, “Ms. Meng’s approach ... would seriously limit Canada’s ability to fulfill its international obligations in the extradition context for fraud and other economic crimes.”
Why It Matters
Meng is the daughter of Huawei’s founder, Chinese billionaire, Ren Zheng. The ruling casts a long shadow over the already hostile relationship between Ottawa and Beijing, reported Reuters.
The Chinese embassy in Canada accused the country of being an “accomplice to United States efforts to bring down Huawei and Chinese high-tech companies.”
The Trump administration has come down heavily on Huawei and blocked the shipment of semiconductors to the firm from global chipmakers.
Responding to the ruling, Huawei released a statement Wednesday saying, “We expect that Canada's judicial system will ultimately prove Ms. Meng's innocence. Ms. Meng's lawyers will continue to work tirelessly to see justice is served.”
The second phase of the extradition hearing is expected to start in June when the court will decide if Meng’s arrest in Canada was conducted lawfully.
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