At the beginning of a legal hearing in Canada against Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, her lawyers described the charges of breaching of Iran sanctions against her as being a “fiction”. Meng is facing a trial in Canada, where she was arrested at the behest of the US, over her extradition to the US.
The United States has alleged that Meng had helped in a number of Huawei affiliate companies to violate the Iran sanctions of the US. Meng is the chief financial officer of the technology giant of China as well as the eldest daughter of the company’s founder Ren Zhengfei.
Outside the special court in Vancouver on Monday, there were protesters who waving “Free Meng” and “Trump stop bullying us” placards while Wanzhou rushed past the protesters and made no comments.
During the hearing, lawyers of Meng rejected the charges brought against her in their opening remarks arguing that the charges brought against him for alleged conduct was cannot be considered to be illegal in Canada at the time when they happened.
The central issue was “double criminality”, Meng’s defense lawyer, Richard Peck, told the court, which meant that the legal concept for her extradition to the US would be allowable only if can be proved that the alleged illegal acts were also criminal in nature according to Canadian law at that time they had occurred.
“Would we be here in the absence of U.S. sanctions law, and … our response is no,” Peck said. “In a typical case, double criminality is not contentious. This case, however, is founded on an allegation of breach of US sanctions, sanctions which Canada has expressly repudiated,” he added.
The chances of Meng avoiding an extradition to the US hinges upon her lawyers being able to convince the country that the charges brought by the US does not hold under Canadian law and that they are politically motivated.
According to the charges made against Meng by the US, she has been accused of lying to the HSBC bank about the relationship between Huawei and its affiliate company Skycom based in Iran which in turn had put the bank at risk of violating the Iran sanctions by the US.
The allegations have been denied by the Meng. Her case has also been a train in the relations between Canada and China. For the past year, Meng has been living in one of her two Vancouver mansions after she was granted bail.
The case of extradition of Meng to the US will be justified by lawyers for Canada’s attorney general, on behalf of the US justice department by arguing that violation of the US accusations on Iran by Meng would also be considered a crime in Canada had they been conducted in the country.
“The US has cast [Meng’s] alleged behaviour as a fraud against a bank. This is an artifice,” Peck told the court. “This case is founded on allegations of breach of US sanctions, which Canada has repudiated,” he said, adding that Canada was effectively being asked “to enforce US sanctions.”
(Adapted from TheGuardian.com)