Canadian justice lawyer: US didn’t mislead in Huawei arrest
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — There is no evidence to support defense allegations the U.S. acted in bad faith or omitted evidence in an attempt to mislead an extradition hearing for a top executive at Chinese communications giant Huawei Technologies, a Canadian government lawyer said Thursday.
The argument came in a hearing for Meng Wanzhou, who is Huawei’s chief financial officer as well as the daughter of the company’s founder, was arrested by Canadian authorities at Vancouver’s airport in late 2018. The U.S. wants her extradited to face fraud charges.
The arrest infuriated Beijing, which sees her case as a political move designed to prevent China’s rise.
Over the next few weeks, Justice Heather Holmes will hear final arguments on whether Meng should be extradited to face trial in the United States.
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.
Defense lawyer Mona Duckett told the court this week that the extradition request should be denied after arguing that the United States “strategically crafted” a misleading record of the case and acted “in bad faith” when presenting reasons for her extradition. The U.S. omitted facts, obscured the law and inaccurately summarized documents, she said.
“These are serious allegations,” Canadian Justice Department lawyer Monika Rahman said. “Such allegations require cogent evidence to be proven, evidence of a quality that is not before this court.”
Rahman said the U.S. has acted honorably, fairly and reasonably throughout the proceedings She added that the U.S. has a “very high” standard and “discretion” on what evidence to put forth when making its case for extradition.
Rahman also took issue with defense allegations the U.S has changed its theory of the case.
“There has not been a shift in theory,” she said. “There is the same theory.”
She also disagreed with defense’s suggestion the conduct of the U.S. warranted halting the extradition proceedings.
Meng, who attended court wearing a pink facemask and an electronic monitoring device on her ankle, followed the proceedings through a translator.
The judge likely won’t make her ruling until later in the year. Whatever her decision, it will likely be appealed.
In past hearings Meng’s lawyers have argued that her extraction should be halted because Canadian Border Security Agency officers detained and questioned her without a lawyer, asked questions that benefited U.S. authorities, seized her electronic devices and put them in special bags to prevent wiping, and compelled her to give up the passcodes before her official arrest.
They have also argued that comments made by then U.S. President Donald Trump showed he hoped to use Meng’s arrest as part of a bargaining chip in trade negotiations with China and that there is a lack of international jurisdiction by the U.S. to prosecute a Chinese citizen for actions in Hong Kong.
Soon after Meng’s arrest, China arrested Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig in apparent retaliation and charged them with spying. Both have remained jailed.
Meng remains free on bail in Vancouver and is living in a mansion.