May 27, 2020 / 9:14 AM / 2 months ago

Explainer: What happens next in Huawei CFO's U.S. extradition case

TORONTO (Reuters) - A Canadian judge will rule Wednesday on a key aspect of Huawei Technologies Co Ltd’s Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou’s extradition to the United States. The judge will rule on double criminality, meaning whether the charges against Meng were illegal in both Canada and the United States at the time of her December 2018 arrest.

FILE PHOTO: Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou leaves her home to attend her extradition hearing at B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada January 23, 2020. REUTERS/Jennifer Gauthier/File Photo

IF THE JUDGE SIDES WITH MENG

British Columbia’s Superior Court Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes could rule in favour of Meng, agreeing the standard of double criminality was not met. This outcome could potentially allow Meng to fly home to China immediately, after spending nearly 18 months in house arrest in Vancouver.

Although charges in extradition trials are normally litigated all at once, the court decided to split Meng’s case into separate charges because if the standard of double criminality was not met, then there would be no point in arguing the rest of the case.

Leo Adler, an extradition lawyer, said because the sanctions did not exist in Canada, “the conduct therefore is perfectly legal and that you shouldn’t find that it’s conduct under some other section of the criminal code. The issue of sanctions is a very specific issue.”

If the judge sides with Meng, it would seriously hamper the Canadian government’s ability to follow through with the extradition, legal experts say. Prosecutors would then have to decide whether to appeal the judge’s ruling.

IF THE JUDGE SIDES WITH PROSECUTORS

The judge could rule in favour of the Canadian justice department, finding the standard was met. This outcome would mean the trial could proceed to the next phase as scheduled starting next month.

OTHER POSSIBILITIES?

Holmes could also find that Meng would be better charged under a different section of Canada’s criminal code, or a different law entirely, Adler said, although this outcome was less likely.

Reporting by Moira Warburton in Toronto; Editing by Denny Thomas and Lisa Shumaker

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