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Meng Wanzhou argues U.S. evidence ‘unreliable’ as extradition fight continues

Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei, leaves her home to go to B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, Wednesday, May 27, 2020.
Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei, leaves her home to go to B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, Wednesday, May 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Lawyers for Meng Wanzhou say evidence used by the United States for the Huawei executive’s extradition is “unreliable and defective” and should not be considered by a Canadian court.

Documents released Friday ahead of a hearing scheduled for September include evidence that Meng’s lawyers argue proves the U.S. left out key facts about communication with HSBC about Huawei’s operations in Iran when requesting Meng’s extradition from Canada to stand trial for fraud charges.

Read more: Witnesses to prove Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou lied, supporting her extradition: docs

Among the evidence submitted by Meng’s lawyers is testimony from expert witnesses including John Bellinger, a former White House lawyer, as well as a Huawei company presentation outlining its relationship with businesses operating in Iran.

Click to play video 'Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou asks for extradition to be stayed, says U.S. mislead Canada' Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou asks for extradition to be stayed, says U.S. mislead Canada
Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou asks for extradition to be stayed, says U.S. mislead Canada

The submissions, the lawyers for Huawei write, show that the evidence used by the United States as part of their case is “manifestly unreliable — so unreliable and defective — to justify refusing to commit (Meng) for extradition.”

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The PowerPoint presentation, in particular, proves that “a key ingredient of the fraud allegation against (Meng) — deception — is absent,” the lawyers write. 

Read more: Meng Wanzhou lawyers argue document release won’t compromise national security

Meng was arrested at Vancouver International Airport in December 2018 on a warrant from the United States which alleges that she misled the bank HSBC about Huawei’s business dealings in Iran, violating U.S. sanctions against the Middle Eastern country.

She has said she is innocent and is fighting extradition while on house arrest in Vancouver.

The issue of whether the evidence will be accepted is scheduled to be argued in British Columbia Supreme Court next month. The entire extradition hearing is expected to run till April 2021.

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Canada’s new ambassador to the United Nations says there is “no justification” for China’s imprisonment of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor

Starting Monday, Meng will attend a series of hearings via telephone, arguing for Attorney General David Lametti to release more confidential documents relating to her arrest to show that her rights were abused. Lametti’s office has held back some of the documents related to her arrest, claiming privilege.

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Meng’s legal team argues that her extradition proceedings should be stayed as a result of the abuses.

Meng’s arrest marked a souring of China’s relations with Canada, with Beijing accusing Ottawa of using her detainment as a political move to prevent China’s rise as a global technology power.

Read more: China says Kovrig, Spavor may be freed if Canada ends Meng Wanzhou case

Just days later, Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor were detained in China on accusations of spying. The two men were formally charged with espionage shortly after Meng lost a bid in May to have her extradition stayed.

Canada has repeatedly called for the release of the pair known as the “two Michaels” and has accused Beijing of using their “unjustified” arrests as a bargaining chip to secure Meng’s release. While China has denied the accusation, a spokesperson for the country’s foreign ministry has also admitted that ending Meng’s extradition could “open up space” for Kovrig and Spavor to be returned to Canada.

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Earlier this month in back-to-back trials a day apart, China sentenced two other Canadians, Ye Jianhui and Xu Weihong, to death over drug charges.

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When asked if the sentencing of the Canadian drug offenders was linked to Meng’s case, a different foreign ministry spokesman stressed China’s judicial independence, while also adding that “the Canadian side knows the root cause” of difficulties in China-Canadian relations.

— With files from Reuters