Crime & Justice

Huawei exec says US deceiving Canadian court in extradition case

Toronto, Jul 24 (efe-epa).- Lawyers for the chief financial officer of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei told the Canadian court weighing the US request for Meng Wanzhou’s extradition on bank fraud charges that Washington’s case rests on misrepresentations of fact.

The filing by defense counsel also accused the United States of having “poisoned” the atmosphere surrounding the case by linking it to negotiations with Beijing on a trade pact.

Attorneys for the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei pointed to comments made by US President Donald Trump shortly after Meng was detained by Canada at the request of Washington on Dec. 1, 2018, during a stopover in Vancouver en route from Hong Kong to Mexico City.

“If I think it’s good for what will be certainly the largest trade deal ever made – which is a very important thing – what’s good for national security, I would certainly intervene (in Meng’s case) if I thought it was necessary,” Trump said.

The lawyers went on to cite Trump’s outspokenness regarding the US Department of Justice’s prosecutions of two of his associates, veteran political operative Roger Stone and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

Regarding Stone, federal prosecutors reduced their sentencing request following public criticism from the president, who subsequently gave his long-time friend a commutation. Flynn saw federal prosecutors drop the charges against him after his conviction on charges of lying to the FBI.

“These two examples show that the requesting state’s president not only thinks he can intervene in prosecutions, but that he will do so when it suits his political agenda,” the attorneys said in their brief.

After Meng’s arrest, China froze diplomatic and trade relations with Canada and accused Ottawa of violating the human rights of one of its citizens.

Beijing also detained two Canadian citizens – former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor – and continues to hold them on charges of endangering China’s national security.

Meng, now 48, is charged with committing bank fraud and violating US sanctions on Iran by misleading banks about the business her company allegedly conducted in that country through a subsidiary called Skycom.

To support that accusation, US prosecutors offered what they described as evidence that during a meeting in Hong Kong with an executive of HSBC bank, Meng lied about Huawei’s connection to Skycom operations in Iran.

But the defense attorneys said the US “omitted material evidence that would establish that (Meng) accurately told HSBC about Huawei’s relationship with Skycom in Iran.”

This “misleading” record of the case “disqualifies (the US) from continuing these proceedings,” Meng’s legal team said.

In late May, the Canadian judge presiding over the extradition case rejected a motion to invalidate the US request.

Meng’s attorneys argued that because Canada is not a party to the US sanctions, the charges against her do not constitute a crime under Canadian law.

Heather Holmes, associate chief justice of the provincial Supreme Court in British Columbia, said that Meng’s interpretation of “the double criminality analysis would seriously limit Canada’s ability to fulfill its international obligations in the extradition context for fraud and other economic crimes.”

“Canada’s law of fraud looks beyond international boundaries to encompass all the relevant details that make up the factual matrix, including foreign laws that may give meaning to some of the facts,” Holmes wrote two months ago.

Meng was released on bail 10 days after her arrest and now resides with her family in one of two mansions she owns in Vancouver. She is required to wear a GPS ankle bracelet and pay for her own 24/7 surveillance. EFE


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