Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou this afternoon has lost a key court battle that was intended to delay her extradition to the US. But even with the loss, Meng isn't heading to the states anytime soon.
Meng was first arrested in December 2018 and she was charged with being in violation of US sanctions when a company controlled by Huawei sold telecom equipment to Iran.
Specifically, the US said she lied to bankers about Huawei's links to Skycom Tech, a firm that was active in Iran and an alleged shell company for Huawei. According to US prosecutors, and noted again in this Canadian trial, Huawei's Meng is said to have claimed that Skycom was a partner, not a subsidiary.
Meng's request to be released from the extradition process centered on the argument that she couldn't be extradited to the US because she'd violated no Canadian laws; Canada has no sanctions against Iran.
In Meng's world (and I realize I'm oversimplifying for brevity here), it didn't matter so much that she deceived some banks about who they were dealing with – more important was where she was physically located when the deception occurred.
Canada's Associate Chief Justice H. Holmes did not agree.
"Canada's law of fraud looks beyond international boundaries to encompass all the relevant details that make up the factual matrix, including foreign laws that may give meaning to some of the facts," Holmes wrote in her decision.
The prosecution made its case that US sanctions against Iran did "play a role in the double criminality analysis as part of the background or context against which the alleged conduct is examined," Holmes wrote. So the extradition hearings can proceed.
What hasn't been determined by the courts, yet, is whether Meng will be tried in Canada for fraud since this ruling, in order to press on, argued that what Meng did was illegal in Canada and the US.
When will Meng, the daughter of Huawei's founder, ever set foot in a US courtroom? It's hard to say.
According to Holmes's ruling, Canada's Minister of Justice will weigh in next. "The Minister's decision will necessarily take account of whether prosecution according to the foreign laws could lead to an unjust or oppressive result according to Canadian values," she wrote.
Canada, politically, is showing the world that it is operating independently and free from the whims of the US government. As such, we can expect due process to drag on for a while. Once Canada's Justice minster makes his ruling, Meng can appeal and further delay extradition by appearing in front of Canada's Supreme Court.