A B.C. The Supreme Court judge held that a critical test in the case of Huawei’s executive extradition, Meng Wanzhou, had been met, and the extradition process would continue.
In her 23-page decision released Wednesday morning, Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes said that, taken together, the alleged crimes of Huawei’s chief financial officer would appear to constitute a crime in Canada, a principle known as ” double criminality ”. Read the full decision below.
Meng is accused of bank and banking fraud in the United States for having distorted Huawei’s relationship with a subsidiary doing business in Iran with the bank HSBC.
US authorities allege that the bank later processed financial transactions that violated US sanctions.
Meng and Huawei have repeatedly denied the charges.
Meng’s lawyers argued in January that because Canada had not imposed similar sanctions on Iran, the bank would not have been put at risk by the alleged false statement, there could be no fraud, so there would be no crime in Canada.
But Justice Holmes disagreed with their argument, writing that the crux of the allegations against Meng is the alleged fraud itself.
She added that the US trade sanctions against Iran can be viewed as a context or context for understanding Meng’s alleged fraud.
Meng’s lawyers had argued that each element of the alleged conduct should be considered to have occurred in Canada.
But Holmes wrote that it was too narrow an approach, which “loses sight of … the essence of the alleged conduct.”
She also felt that in a hypothetical scenario where the crime had taken place in Canada against an American bank, nothing in Canadian law would prevent reference to American law to establish fraud.
“Canada’s fraud law crosses international borders,” wrote Holmes.
Immigration lawyer Richard Kurland said the judge essentially decided that “fraud is wide.”
“You are not going to have a narrow definition of fraud in an extradition context, because that would allow bad people to do bad things and get away with it in the future,” said Kurland.
Meng did not speak to the journalists because she left a brief appearance in court after the decision.
In a press release posted on Twitter, Huawei Canada said it was “disappointed” with Justice Holmes’ decision.
“We expect the Canadian justice system to ultimately prove Ms. Meng’s innocence. Ms. Meng’s lawyers will continue to work tirelessly to see justice done, “said the statement in part.
It is unclear whether Meng’s lawyers plan to appeal Wednesday’s decision immediately or wait for a later stage in the extradition process.
What happens next?
Meng and his lawyers are scheduled to appear in British Columbia. The Supreme Court next month for a case management conference to plan the next round of hearings.
Huawei’s executive legal team plans to argue that her Charter rights were violated when she was arrested at YVR in December 2018.
Allegating an abuse of process, the defense team claims that Meng was detained and interrogated for three hours by the Canada Border Services Agency in a “secret criminal conspiracy”.
Essentially, their argument is that his detention was part of a fishing expedition led by Canadian and American authorities, who then attempted to gather evidence to support their case.
The CBSA and the RCMP involved in his arrest have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
Meng’s team also plans to argue that his accusations are politically motivated.
A judge would be asked to rule on the abuse of process, and if Meng lost, his team would likely appeal.
Justice Holmes also pointed out that his ruling on Wednesday does not determine whether there is sufficient admissible evidence against Meng to warrant his return to Canada.
Meng is not before a Canadian court, but meeting this threshold is a key requirement for Meng to be extradited to the United States.
Legal experts suggest that his case could reach the Supreme Court of Canada, taking years to navigate the justice system.
And the Minister of Justice of Canada should also decide to effectively hand over Meng to the authorities, a decision which could also be reviewed by the court of appeal.
The Department of Justice Canada did not specifically reflect on the decision and said that the process “testifies to the independence of the extradition process from Canada”.
When the Premier of British Columbia was asked to weigh in on Wednesday’s decision, he said he was confident in the justice system.
John Horgan said he knew there could be political ramifications in Canada and around the world, but that at the end of the day is a federal issue.
Meng’s legal team returned to court on June 3.
CTV News was in court for the decision. Read the live coverage below.
Here is the full decision. Tap the icon at the top right to expand.