Huawei executive's extradition hearing to start in Vancouver

Meng Wanzhou trial begins amid growing tensions between Canada and China

The closely watched case of Meng Wanzhou is due to start in Vancouver as the Huawei executive battles extradition amid growing tensions between Canada and China.

The hearings, scheduled to begin on Monday and last five days at British Columbia’s supreme court, will centre on “double criminality” – the legal notion that Meng’s extradition to the US requires her alleged actions also be considered a crime in Canada.

It marks the first phase in what is likely to be a protracted battle: Meng’s team is also expected to argue US and Canadian authorities conspired against her, breaching her rights when Canadian border guards detained her for hours prior to her arrest by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in December 2018 on suspicion of fraud and breaching US sanctions on Iran.

Government lawyers in Canada allege Meng lied about her company’s dealings with Iran when speaking to prospective investors at large banks, potentially putting them at risk of breaching the US sanctions. This deception, they say, amounts to fraud.

The defence counters that Canada does not have the same sanctions against Iran, so any banks working with Meng would not have fallen foul of restrictions.

If Justice Heather Holmes sides with the government, it increases the likelihood Meng could be sent to the US to face bank fraud and wire fraud charges. But if her lawyers are able to argue the threshold of double criminality has not been met, the extradition proceedings would in effect end.

The Huawei chief financial officer was arrested more than a year ago as she travelled from Hong Kong to a conference in Argentina, stopping briefly in Vancouver.

Meng is currently living in Vancouver, under house arrest after securing a $10m bail. She is required to wear a GPS tracking device and has a curfew, but is able to travel freely around the city.

Hours before the start of the hearings, China condemned the proceedings, highlighting tense relations between the two countries.

“We urge the Canadian government again to take China’s stance and concerns seriously, take tangible action to correct its mistakes, release Ms Meng without further delay and ensure her safe return to China,” said foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang.

Meng’s court appearance comes amid growing concern in Canada over the detention of two Canadians in China, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who were charged with espionage in May. The pair were arrested days after Canada executed the warrant for Meng – a move largely seen as retributive from China. Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, has long demanded the two be released, but the two remain in detention.

Contributor

Leyland Cecco in Toronto

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Huawei: Chinese media accuses US of 'hooliganism' over Meng Wanzhou arrest
State-run papers label Washington a ‘despicable rogue’ as Japan moves to ban telecoms company from government contracts

Lily Kuo in Beijing and agencies

07, Dec, 2018 @3:15 AM

Article image
Huawei CFO committed fraud in breach of US sanctions, prosecutors say
Meng Wanzhou lied about links between telecoms giant and shell company, Vancouver court hears as bail arguments continue

Leyland Cecco in Toronto

08, Dec, 2018 @5:01 AM

Article image
China summons US ambassador over Huawei CFO's arrest
Terry Branstad urged to cancel arrest warrant for Meng Wanzhou and end her ‘egregious’ detention

Simon Goodley

09, Dec, 2018 @7:29 PM

Article image
Huawei CFO's extradition would let US criminalize behavior in Canada, say lawyers
Meng Wanzhou’s lawyers argue that US accusations would not be considered a crime in Canada, where she was arrested in 2018

Guardian staff and agencies in Vancouver

21, Jan, 2020 @9:57 PM

Article image
Meng Wanzhou: Canadian court frees Huawei CFO on bail
Technology company executive facing extradition to the US is given $7.5m bail by a judge in Vancouver

Leyland Cecco in Toronto

12, Dec, 2018 @5:03 AM

Article image
China-US feud threatens Canada as Huawei executive due in court
Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s global chief financial officer, will appear at a bail hearing on Friday morning, following her arrest last Saturday

Leyland Cecco in Toronto

07, Dec, 2018 @8:00 AM

Article image
Huawei hopes US decision on Meng Wanzhou heralds new era in relations
US justice department suspended fraud charges against chief financial officer of Chinese telecoms giant

Patrick Wintour Diplomatic editor

06, Oct, 2021 @1:00 AM

Article image
Case to extradite Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou to US resumes
Telecoms group to claim abuse of process, saying US government has provided partial evidence

Patrick Wintour Diplomatic editor

28, Sep, 2020 @5:00 AM

Article image
Protesters who demanded Huawei CFO's release revealed to be paid actors
More than a dozen people outside Vancouver courtroom with ‘Free Meng’ signs were promised C$100 for two hours’ work on a movie

Leyland Cecco in Toronto and agencies

22, Jan, 2020 @10:05 PM

Article image
China’s ambassador accuses Canada of ‘white supremacy’ in Huawei CFO arrest
Ambassador Lu Shaye wrote in an op-ed for an Ottawa-based paper that western countries are employing a ‘double standard’

Guardian staff and agencies

09, Jan, 2019 @9:39 PM