On March 1, 2019, Canada’s Justice Department authorized an extradition hearing for Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei, the Chinese telecom and electronics company, on 13 criminal counts of conspiracy, fraud, and obstruction. The extradition hearing will start on March 6 at the British Columbia Supreme Court. On that day the court will set a date for the start of her extradition hearing. Meanwhile, Ms. Meng has sued the Canadian government for violating her constitutional rights when she was detained and her electronics were seized and reviewed. The Chinese government has just charged two Canadians – one a former diplomat – of espionage and violating state secrets.
Canada Proceeds with Extradition of Ms. Meng
The Chinese Embassy in Ottawa said it is “utterly dissatisfied” with the Canadian decision to proceed with the extradition. It termed the case “a political persecution against a Chinese high-tech enterprise.”
Meng’s counsel said it is disappointed Canada has allowed the process proceeding “in the case of the political nature of the U.S. charges and where the president of the United States has repeatedly stated that he would interfere in Ms. Meng’s case if he thought it would assist the U.S. negotiations with China over a trade deal.”
David Martin, counsel for Meng, said violating U.S. sanctions on Iran is not a crime under Canadian law. However, the U.S. has characterized Meng’s acts to circumvent the sanctions as a fraud against banks, which is a crime in Canada.
On March 1, 2019, two Huawei subsidiaries pleaded not guilty to fraud, trade secrets conspiracy, and other charges in U.S. District Court in Seattle. The court set a trial date for March 2020.
Meng Sues Canadian Law Enforcement of Violating Her Constitutional Rights
On March 1, 2019, the law firm of Gudmundseth Mickelson, counsel for Ms. Meng, brought a 13-page civil action in the Supreme Court of British Columbia, alleging members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) violated her constitutional rights when they arrested her on December 1, 2018. According to the lawsuit, she was held and interrogated for three hours without being advised of her rights. During that time, CBSA officials unlawfully searched her electronic devices, including two cellphones, an IPad and a personal computer, as well as obtained passwords to search them, without advising her of her right to counsel and her right to silence. She has requested a declaration that her constitutional rights were violated.
China Accuses Former Canadian Diplomat of Espionage and Theft of State Secrets
On March 4, 2019, China issued more detailed allegations against former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig, accusing him of espionage and the theft of state secrets. For the first time Chinese officials connected the case of Mr. Kovrig with that of Michael Spavor, a detained Canadian businessman. The Chinese detained both men on December 10, less than two weeks after the arrest of Ms. Meng. Until now, China has only accused them of endangering Chinese national security. China has interrogated them intensively, often for six hours a day.
Kovrig worked as an analyst with the International Crisis Group, which focuses on peaceful resolution of conflict. In his job he regularly met with government officials, think tanks, scholars, and journalists in China and throughout the world.
Spavor regularly dealt with persons interested in North Korea, including Kovrig.
The Chinese government has said it will proceed to press its case against the two detained Canadians. Chinese law allows authorities to detain suspects for up to six months without formal charges, normally in rooms with 24-hour lighting so that authorities can keep them under constant surveillance.
The decision by the Canadian government to proceed with extradition of Ms. Meng comes at a time when allegations against the Trudeau and top officials in his Administration charge them with interfering in the prosecution of engineering firm SNC-Lavalin concerning bribery offenses in Libya. In particular, the former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould testified that she faced heavy pressure and veiled threats from Trudeau and others to help SNC-Lavalin avoid a criminal trial. Hours before the Canadian Justice Department’s announcement it will proceed with the extradition, China’s Foreign Ministry focused on possible double standards by referring at a regular daily news briefing on allegations of political interference in the SNC-Lavalin case.
Meng’s civil suit, if successful, may result in the exclusion of evidence seized from Meng when she was detained on December 1 in Vancouver.
Meanwhile, as U.S.-China trade talks move towards a settlement, prospects exist for some type of settlement over the Meng extradition. The new charges against Kovrig and Spavor increase the stakes.
The March issue of the IELR will have a more comprehensive discussion of the cases.
 Canada green-lights formal extradition process for Meng Wanzhou, Vancouver Sun, Mar. 2, 2019.
 Dan Bilfesky and Ian Austen, Huawei Chief Receives Date for Hearing in Canada, N.Y. Times, Mar. 2, 2019, at A9, col. 4.
 Wendy Stueck, Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou files lawsuit alleging breach of constitutional rights, Globe and Mail, Mar. 3, 2019.
 Nathan Vanderkippe, China accuses detained Canadians of spying, days after Huawei extradition hearing approved, Globe and Mail, March 4, 2019.
 Canada green-lights formal extradition process for Meng Wanzhou, supra.
 Robert Fife, Steven Chase, Andrea Wood, and Xiao Xu, Canada allows extradition hearings against Huawei executive Meng, Globe and Mail, March 1, 2019.