A court in Vancouver ruled on Wednesday that US prosecutors had satisfied an essential legal requirement needed to continue the extradition case of Huawei’s CFO Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested in December 2018 in the city at the request of the US on fraud charges, the South China Morning Post reported.
The Supreme Court of British Columbia ruled that the US prosecutors had demonstrated that the conduct Meng is accused of in the US also constitutes a crime in Canada, meeting the “double criminality” requirement of Canadian extradition law.
According to a report from the New York Times, Meng was charged with “the making of intentionally false statements,” which allegedly deceived four banks into making transactions for Huawei that evaded US sanctions against Iran.
In a statement on Twitter, the Chinese embassy in Ottawa expressed “strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition” to the decision of the court, and made “serious representations” with Canada. “The United States and Canada, by abusing their bilateral extradition treaty and arbitrarily taking forceful measures against Ms Meng Wanzhou, gravely violated the lawful rights and interests of the said Chinese citizen,” the statement said.
The statement also called the case a political attempt from the US to bring down Huawei and other Chinese high-tech companies, with Canada acting as an accomplice and urged Canada to release Meng immediately.
Huawei expressed disappointment in the ruling. “We have repeatedly expressed confidence in Ms Meng’s innocence. Huawei continues to stand with Ms Meng in her pursuit for justice and freedom,” the company said in a statement. “We expect that Canada’s judicial system will ultimately prove Ms Meng’s innocence”.
Indicted in January 2019 and kept under house arrest since, Meng is the daughter of Huawei’s founder Ren Zhengfei, one of the most prominent businessmen in China. Prosecutors said Meng lied to HSBC about Huawei’s relationship with Skycom, a company based in Iran, which exposed the bank to risks imposed by the US sanctions against Iran.
Meng’s lawyers argued that her case had been affected by political interference, adding that Meng’s Canadian rights were violated by her treatment at the Vancouver airport, where she was allegedly searched and questioned on behalf of the FBI, according to the SCMP report.
In addition to adding uncertainty to the already strained relationship between China and the US, which have been locked in a trade war for years, Meng’s case also increased tensions between China and Canada, with Canada conducting a review of Huawei and whether its technology could be used in the Canadian 5G network.