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United States Seeks Extradition of Huawei Official Charged with Violating Sanctions Against Iran

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On December 1, 2018, Canadian authorities arrested Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Chinese telecom manufacturer Huawei, in Vancouver as she was going from Hong Kong to Mexico. Meng, who has been charged by the U.S. Department of Justice with crimes relating to violations of U.S. sanctions on Iran, is currently awaiting an extradition hearing in Canada. Her arrest has complicated efforts to reach a resolution to the ongoing U.S-China trade dispute while straining relations between China and Canada, which is seeking the release of several Canadians detained by China in apparent retaliation for Meng's arrest.

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1 U.S. Dep't of Justice Press Release, Chinese Telecommunications Conglomerate Huawei and Huawei CFO Wanzhou Meng Charged with Financial Fraud (Jan. 28, 2019), at https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/chinese-telecommunications-conglomerate-huawei-and-huawei-cfo-wanzhou-meng-charged-financial [https://perma.cc/V8F7-Z65S] [hereinafter DOJ Meng Indictment Press Release].

2 Emily Rauhala, Huawei Executive Wanted by U.S. Faces Fraud Charges Related to Iran Sanctions, Could Face 30 Years in Prison, Wash. Post (Dec. 7, 2018), at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/huawei-executive-wanted-by-us-scheduled-for-bail-hearing-in-canada/2018/12/07/0a08c602-fa31-11e8-863a-8972120646e0_story.html?utm_term=.7d50ad8abc8a.

3 Id.

4 Kate Conger, Huawei Executive Took Part in Sanctions Fraud, Prosecutors Say, N.Y. Times (Dec. 7, 2018), at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/07/technology/huawei-meng-wanzhou-fraud.html.

5 DOJ Meng Indictment Press Release, supra note 1. See also David Sanger, Katie Benner & Matthew Goldstein, Huawei and Top Executive Face Criminal Charges in the U.S., N.Y. Times (Jan. 28, 2019), at https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/28/us/politics/meng-wanzhou-huawei-iran.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage.

6 DOJ Meng Indictment Press Release, supra note 1.

7 Id.

8 Id.

9 Indictment, United States v. Meng, Criminal No. 18-457 (S-2) (AMD) (E.D.N.Y. Jan. 24, 2019), available at https://www.justice.gov/usao-edny/press-release/file/1125036/download [https://perma.cc/WP6L-WLW4] [hereinafter Meng Indictment].

10 31 C.F.R. § 560.204 (2018). This prohibition was set forth in Executive Order No. 13,059, 62 Fed. Reg. 44,531 (1997), which in turn was grounded in President Clinton's earlier declaration of a national emergency in Executive Order 12,957 pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. The national emergency declared in Executive Order 12,957 was not affected by President Obama's Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran, from which President Trump subsequently withdrew the United States. U.S. Dep't of the Treasury & U.S. Dep't of State, Guidance Relating to the Lifting of Certain U.S. Sanctions Pursuant to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Implementation Day 41 (Jan. 16, 2016), available at https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Documents/implement_guide_jcpoa.pdf [https://perma.cc/UUB8-LJ8Q] (noting that “the Termination E.O. does not affect: (i) the national emergency declared in E.O. 12957, which shall remain in place, (ii) any E.O. issued in furtherance of that national emergency … .”); see also Kristina Daugirdas & Julian Davis Mortenson, Contemporary Practice of the United States, 110 AJIL 347, 351 & n. 41 (2016).

11 31 C.F.R. § 560.427 (2018).

12 Meng Indictment, supra note 9, para. 11.

13 Id., paras. 12, 15.

14 Id., para. 19.

15 Id., paras. 11, 26.

16 Emily Rauhala, Trump Says He Would Intervene if Needed in Justice Dept. Case Against Chinese Telecom Executive Accused of Violating Iran Sanctions, Wash. Post (Dec. 11, 2018), at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/former-canadian-diplomat-reported-missing-in-china-following-arrest-of-huawei-executive/2018/12/11/350c6bb8-fcdb-11e8-a17e-162b712e8fc2_story.html?utm_term=.c4637d6c151a.

17 Associated Press, The Latest: Huawei Exec Changes Bail Benefactor in Canada, US.News.Com (Jan. 29, 2019), at https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2019-01-29/the-latest-china-urges-end-to-us-crackdown-on-huawei.

18 Jesse Ferreras, U.S. Sends Meng Wanzhou Extradition Request to Canada—But There Are Several Steps Left, Glob. News (Jan. 28, 2019), at https://globalnews.ca/news/4900085/meng-wanzhou-extradition-request.

19 Canadian Dep't of Justice Press Release, Extradition Relevant to the Case of Ms. Meng Wanzhou (Mar. 1, 2019), at https://www.canada.ca/en/department-justice/news/2019/03/extradition-relevant-to-the-case-of-ms-meng-wanzhou.html.

20 Emily Rauhala, Next Hearing in Huawei Executive's Extradition Case Set for May 8, Wash. Post (Mar. 6, 2019), at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/canada-to-hold-first-hearing-in-huawei-extradition-case/2019/03/06/ab5a0eee-3f7d-11e9-85ad-779ef05fd9d8_story.html?utm_term=.e8d6178c1855 (also noting that Meng has filed a civil suit against various Canadian government entities and officials in relation to her detention).

21 Treaty on Extradition Between the United States of America and Canada, U.S.-Can., Art. 1, Dec. 3, 1971, 27 UST 983.

22 Id. Art. 2 & Schedule.

23 Id. Art. 8.

24 Extradition Act, SC 1999, c 18 (Can.).

25 Edward Wong, Katie Benner & Alan Rappeport, U.S. Will Ask Canada to Extradite Huawei Executive, N.Y. Times (Jan. 22, 2019), at https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/22/us/politics/meng-wanzhou-extradition.html; Extradition Act, supra note 24.

26 U.S. Dep't of Justice Press Release, Chinese Telecommunications Device Manufacturer and Its U.S. Affiliate Indicted for Theft of Trade Secrets, Wire Fraud, and Obstruction of Justice (Jan. 28, 2019), at https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/chinese-telecommunications-device-manufacturer-and-its-us-affiliate-indicted-theft-trade [https://perma.cc/C84Z-KK4W] [hereinafter DOJ Huawei Indictment Press Release].

27 Id.

28 Indictment at paras. 3, 27–36, United States v. Huawei, Criminal No. CR19-010-RSM (W.D. Wash. Jan. 16, 2019), available at https://www.justice.gov/opa/press-release/file/1124996/download [https://perma.cc/27X7-3BYD] [hereinafter Huawei Indictment].

29 Id., para. 47.

30 Meng Indictment, supra note 9, para. 1.

31 David E. Sanger, Julian E. Barnes, Raymond Zhong & Marc Santora, In 5G Race with China, U.S. Pushes Allies to Fight Huawei, N.Y. Times (Jan. 26, 2019), at https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/26/us/politics/huawei-china-us-5g-technology.html.

32 For discussion of the ongoing trade dispute between the United States and China, see Jean Galbraith, Contemporary Practice of the United States, 112 AJIL 751 (2018).

33 Mark Landler, Edward Wong & Katie Benner, Huawei Executive's Arrest Intensifies Trade War Fears, N.Y. Times (Dec. 6, 2018), at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/06/us/politics/huawei-meng-china-iran.html (stating that during this dinner neither leader was aware of the arrest).

34 See Wong, Benner & Rappeport, supra note 25 (“American and Chinese officials have tried to portray the arrest of Ms. Meng as separate from the trade talks.”).

35 Chinese Foreign Ministry Press Release, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on December 6, 2018 (Dec. 6, 2018), at https://www.mfa.gov.cn/ce/cegv/eng/fyrth/t1619623.htm.

36 Keith Bradsher & Raymond Zhong, China Tries to Balance Anger Over Huawei Arrest with Warmer Trade Ties, N.Y. Times (Dec. 9, 2018), at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/09/technology/canada-china-huawei-meng-wanzhou.html.

37 U.S. Dep't of State Press Release, Press Availability at the U.S.-Canada 2+2 Ministerial (Dec. 14, 2018), at https://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2018/12/288109.htm [https://perma.cc/3WFE-8WF7].

38 Jeff Mason & Steve Holland, Exclusive: Trump Says He Could Intervene in U.S. Case Against Huawei CFO, Reuters (Dec. 11, 2018), at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-huawei-tech-exclusive/exclusive-trump-says-he-could-intervene-in-u-s-case-against-huawei-cfo-idUSKBN1OA2PQ.

39 Curtis Stone, China to Canada: Trampling on the Rights of Chinese Citizens Comes with a High Cost, People's Daily Online (Dec. 10, 2018), at http://en.people.cn/n3/2018/1210/c90000-9526941.html.

41 Austin Ramzy, Clashes Over Trade and Detentions: What China, the U.S. and Canada Are Fighting Over, N.Y. Times (Dec. 13, 2018), at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/13/world/asia/china-united-states-trade-detentions.html.

42 Id.; Fifield & Coletta, supra note 40.

43 Anna Fifield, China Accuses Two Detained Canadians of Stealing State Secrets, Wash. Post (Mar. 4, 2019), at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/china-accuses-two-detained-canadians-of-stealing-and-selling-state-secrets/2019/03/04/766f2796-3e7e-11e9-a44b-42f4df262a4c_story.html?utm_term=.e9999b488c6b (noting that this “serious allegation … comes just days after Canada said it would proceed with the extradition case” against Meng).

44 Gerry Shih & Emily Rauhala, Trudeau Expresses “Extreme Concern” After Canadian Sentenced to Death on Drug Charges in China, Wash. Post (Jan. 14, 2019), at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/china-sentences-canadian-man-to-death-in-drug-case-linked-to-huawei-row/2019/01/14/058306a0-17fb-11e9-a804-c35766b9f234_story.html?utm_term=.bfb775a16331.

45 Id.

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