VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Lawyers for a senior executive of Chinese communications giant Huawei Technologies were in court Monday arguing new evidence should be introduced to the proceedings to help their client fight extradition to the U.S.
Canada arrested Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of Huawei’s founder and the company’s chief financial officer, at Vancouver’s airport in late 2018. The U.S. wants her extradited to face fraud charges. Her arrest infuriated Beijing, which sees her case as a political move designed to prevent China’s rise.
The U.S. accuses Huawei of using a Hong Kong shell company called Skycom to sell equipment to Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions. It says Meng, 49, committed fraud by misleading the HSBC bank about the company’s business dealings in Iran. Much of the case centers around an August 2013 PowerPoint presentation made to a HSBC executive during a lunch in Hong Kong.
Meng lawyer Frank Addario said the defense wants to introduce an affidavit that disputes allegations Meng’s actions put HSBC at risk because of loans it made to Huawei.
“The evidence is essential to correct the record and ensure the committal is based on an accurate summary of the loans,” Addario told Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes.
The defense has argued the U.S. has misled Canada about the case against Meng and omitted important facts.
Meng attended the hearing in a long blue dress, pink mask, and wearing a monitoring bracelet on her ankle. She paid close attention to the proceedings, occasionally reading court documents, while an interpreter translated.
Later this week, Meng’s lawyers will claim an abuse of process, saying Canada Border Services Agency officers detained and questioned Meng without a lawyer, seized her electronic devices and compelled her to give up the passcodes before her official arrest.
Her lawyers also contend the U.S. is exceeding the limits of its jurisdiction by prosecuting a foreign citizen for actions that took place in Hong Kong and that Canada was misled by the U.S. about the strength of its case.
Meng’s arrest has soured relations between Canada and China. In apparent retaliation, China detained former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and Canadian entrepreneur Michael Spavor. China has also placed restrictions on various Canadian exports to China, including canola oilseed. China also handed death sentences to four Canadians convicted of drug smuggling. Kovrig and Spavor remain jailed.
Meng remains free on bail in Vancouver and living in a mansion.