Crime & Justice

Canadian prosecutor defends extradition of Meng Wanzhou

Toronto, Canada, Aug 11 (EFE).- The Canadian Prosecutor’s Office on Wednesday defended the extradition to the United States of Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou and said that her actions when she met with HSBC bank executives in 2013 were dishonest.

Robert Frater, a lawyer for Canada’s attorney general, told Judge Heather Holmes of the Supreme Court of British Columbia that the evidence that Meng was dishonest is clear, despite the allegations of her legal team.

Frater also reminded Judge Holmes that to proceed with the extradition of Meng to the US, which accuses her of bank fraud to evade sanctions imposed by Washington on Iran, it is only necessary to prove that there is enough evidence for the accused to stand trial.

The US has charged that at a 2013 meeting, Meng provided HSBC executives in Hong Kong with a PowerPoint presentation containing misleading information about Huawei’s relationship with Skycom, a company with operations in Iran, and thus allegedly committed bank fraud.

In contrast, earlier this month, Meng’s lawyers argued that the US has taken advantage of the Canadian judicial system and that Washington failed to provide Canada with accurate information about their client and her conversations with HSBC bank officials.

However, on Wednesday, Frater insisted that Meng “falsely tried to distance Huawei from Skycom.”

“The truth was that Huawei was in full control of Skycom – Skycom was Huawei,” Frater said.

“The dishonesty in this respect was partly through painting a picture of distance through what Ms Meng did say and neglecting to disclose the true nature of the relationship by omission.”

Frater is scheduled to conclude his arguments on Thursday, while lawyers for the 49-year-old will respond to the prosecution from Friday. Hearings are expected to wrap up on Aug. 20 and Holmes will give her verdict in the fall.

The case began on Dec. 1, 2018 when Canada detained Meng at Washington’s request during a stopover in Vancouver on her way to Mexico.

In the immediate aftermath of Meng’s arrest, China detained two Canadian citizens, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, and charged them with espionage.

On Wednesday, a Chinese court sentenced Spavor to 11 years in prison. The verdict of Kovrig is expected in the coming weeks.

The arrests of Meng, Kovrig and Spavor have caused a serious diplomatic rift between Canada and China, with mutual accusations of violation of human rights and international laws. EFE


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