Huawei CFO to seek evidence withheld by Canada about her arrest

Meng Wanzhou exits the Supreme Court after an extradition hearing in Vancouver on 23 January 2020. Photo: Darryl Dyck | Bloomberg

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Vancouver: Huawei Technologies Co.’s Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou is seeking access to hundreds of confidential documents pertaining to her arrest by Canadian authorities as her next round of extradition hearings in Vancouver kicks off Monday.

Meng has been pressing for additional disclosure about the circumstances of her arrest at Vancouver’s airport on a U.S. handover request in December 2018. She argues her arrest was unlawful and that the extradition request should be dismissed.

Meng claims there was an abuse of process during her arrest, accusing border agents, police and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation of unlawfully using the pretext of an immigration check to get her to disclose evidence they could use against her. Border agents have said that they shared “in error” her device passwords with police. Those abuses are serious enough to warrant a stay of extradition proceedings, Meng says.

In February, Canada’s Attorney General provided some 400 documents to her lawyers, half of which were either partially or wholly redacted, along with a list of others that were withheld entirely. The government claims that divulging them would violate confidentiality agreements with clients and third parties. Meng has challenged the redactions as irrelevant and obstructionist.

Five days of hearings are scheduled at the Supreme Court of British Columbia during which Meng will seek an order that would force the government to provide additional disclosure. Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes is likely to issue a decision by Oct. 2, according to a hearing schedule approved earlier by the court.

Separately, at a federal court in Ottawa, Meng is challenging Canada’s decision to withhold on national security grounds documents from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service that detail the role the FBI played in her arrest.

Meng accused Canada of “coordinated state misconduct,” saying police, border officials and the FBI worked together in secret as authorities questioned her for hours and obtained passwords to her electronic devices before formally charging her. The U.S. seeks Meng’s handover to face charges that she conspired to defraud banks, including HSBC Holdings Plc., by tricking them into violating sanctions against Iran.

The arrest of Meng, 48, the eldest daughter of Huawei’s billionaire founder Ren Zhengfei, has plunged Canada-China relations into their darkest period in decades. Following her arrest, China jailed two Canadians — Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig — on espionage charges, halted billions of dollars in Canadian imports, and put four other Canadians on death row.- Bloomberg

Also read: How a letter on hostage diplomacy with China backfired in Canada


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