The case against Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, who has been waiting for Canada for 18 months to decide on her extradition to the United States, which she accuses of violating sanctions against Iran, may turn upside down on Wednesday when a Canadian judge will decide whether the process continues.
Justice Heather Holmes, of the Supreme Court of the Province of British Columbia, will issue a report on Wednesday on the so-called “double criminality”, one of the basic principles of the extradition processes and that establishes that, for a person to be extradited to another country, the crime of which he is accused must also be a crime in the place where he is.
In the case of Meng, the powerful Huawei chief financial officer and daughter of the company’s founder, is accused by the United States of bank fraud for violating the sanctions Washington has imposed against Iran, something the Chinese telecommunications giant denies.
Canadian authorities, through the prosecution, have indicated to Holmes that the crime for which the United States requested Meng’s arrest on December 1, 2018 and his extradition is bank fraud.
Meng’s lawyers, one of China’s wealthiest women, have argued before the judge that Huawei CFO is actually accused of violating sanctions against Iran, a crime that does not exist in Canada, because Ottawa has not imposed this measure on the Tehran authorities.
If Holmes decides that the crime for which the United States wants Meng’s extradition is also a criminal offense in Canada, the case will continue its course in the Canadian judicial system. If the judge establishes that she does not comply with the principle of double criminality, the case will come to an end and Meng may leave Canada.
More than the release of Meng, who since 2019 has been on probation with his family in one of the two mansions he owns in Vancouver, Holmes’ decision will affect relations between Canada and China.
Within a few hours of Canada arresting Meng at the Vancouver airport, when he stopped on the way to Mexico on December 1, China detained two Canadian citizens: the diplomat on leave Michael Spavor and the businessman Michael Kovrig.
The two Canadians have since been detained in conditions that contrast with Meng’s: in small cells lit 24 hours a day and with no outside contact except for one visit per month by Canadian consular officials in China.
The two have been accused by Beijing of “collecting, supplying and selling state secrets to foreign forces” and their arrest is seen as retaliation for Meng’s arrest.
In addition, China has put economic pressure on Canada, hindering Canadian exports to the Asian giant of agricultural and meat products, which has caused large losses to the country’s producers.
Meanwhile, Canada has tried to seek the support of the international community to achieve the liberation of its citizens but with limited success.