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Case of ex-space agency engineer facing breach of trust charge put off until April

A Chinese flag is illuminated by sunshine in the Hall of Honour on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Thursday, September 22, 2016. Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

A former Canadian Space Agency engineer’s breach of trust case was put off until mid-April during a brief hearing today at a courthouse south of Montreal.

Wanping Zheng, 61, a resident of the Montreal suburb of Brossard, Que., faces a single count of breach of trust, accused of using his position to act on behalf of a Chinese aerospace company.

Zheng was not present at the hearing as a judge was told the federal Crown in the case had divulged more evidence on Tuesday, and lawyers on both sides requested the case be put off.

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In recently released court documents used to secure search warrants, police allege that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service had raised concerns about Zheng as early as 2015.

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Despite several warnings, an internal probe by the space agency only began in December 2018, and Zheng resigned in September 2019 after 26 years at the agency.

Less than a week later, space agency officials contacted the RCMP.

When Zheng was charged in December, the RCMP said in a statement the case involved the installation of satellite station facilities in Iceland, with the accused allegedly acting on behalf of a Chinese firm.

The case will return before a judge on April 14.

Click to play video: 'Why CSIS believes Canada is ‘permissive target’ for China’s interference'
Why CSIS believes Canada is ‘permissive target’ for China’s interference

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