Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou has suffered a fresh setback in her fight to avoid extradition to the US after a Canadian judge ruled her case could continue.
Wanzhou, eldest daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, is wanted in the US on fraud charges, as well as allegations she broke American sanctions against Iran.
Canada's extradition treaty with the US requires the suspect to be accused of an act that would be regarded as a criminal offense in both territories. Wanzhou's lawyers have argued that as Canada had relaxed most sanctions against Iran when the crime purportedly took place, the charges fail to meet this criterion.
Following the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2016, the Trudeau government removed most economic sanctions against Iran while preserving those aimed at the country's military and nuclear programmes.
Although the US was an initial signatory to the JCPOA, the Trump administration formally withdrew in early 2018 over allegations Iran was failing to comply with the deal.
Judge Heather Holmes rejected Meng's lawyers' argument, noting that fraud is a crime in both Canada and the US. Meng is accused of misleading executives at HSBC over her alleged involvement in a shell company used to transport $1.3m worth of Hewlett-Packard computer equipment to Iran's largest telecommunications provider.
Mobile Telecommunication Co of Iran, also known as MCI and MCCI, was previously part-owned by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The IRGC is designated as a terrorist organisation by the US, as well as by regional foes Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.
The ongoing woes of Meng have served to drive a wedge between Ottawa and Beijing.
In the months following her arrest in late 2018, Beijing detained two Canadian nationals – former diplomat Michael Kovrig and North Korea-linked businessman Michael Spavor — in what was regarded as a tit-for-tat retaliation. Both Kovrig and Spavor remain in custody.
The Chinese government has since urged Canada to release Meng. In a statement published to the Twitter feed of the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa, it warned Canada against going "further down the wrong path".
As for the question raised by the media concerning the Canadian court’s ruling on the so-called “double criminality” issue in the case of Chinese citizen Meng Wanzhou, the spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy made remarks as follows: pic.twitter.com/BkhC6Yji60— ChineseEmbassyOttawa (@ChinaEmbOttawa) May 27, 2020
Speaking to The Register, a Huawei spokesperson said: "Huawei is disappointed by the ruling today by the Supreme Court of British Columbia. We have repeatedly expressed confidence in Ms Meng's innocence. Huawei continues to stand by Ms Meng in her pursuit of justice and freedom.
"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." ®