Meng Wanzhou’s lawyers accuse US of ‘bad faith,’ misleading Canada
Toronto, Canada, Aug 4 (EFE).- Meng Wanzhou’s lawyers accused the United States on Wednesday of taking advantage of Canada and its judicial system and acting “in bad faith” to request the arrest and extradition of Huawei’s chief financial officer.
At an extradition hearing, Meng’s legal team argued on Wednesday before Judge Heather Holmes of the Supreme Court of British Columbia that the US authorities did not provide Canada with truthful information about their client and her conversations with HSBC bank executives.
Wednesday’s proceedings were part of the final arguments on whether to extradite the 49-year-old to the US.
The US Department of Justice accuses Meng and Huawei of bank fraud to evade the sanctions that Washington has imposed on Iran.
Meng’s lawyers argued that she should not be extradited to the US as its prosecutors acted “in bad faith” when it presented misleading information about the actions of Huawei’s board of directors and Meng, who is the daughter of the company’s founder.
The proof of the alleged manipulation are internal HSBC documents that Huawei obtained after going to court in the United Kingdom, where the bank’s headquarters are located, and Hong Kong, where Meng met with the executives of the bank.
According to the US, in 2013, Meng held a meeting in Hong Kong with senior HSBC executives to whom she presented a PowerPoint document that concealed the relationship between Huawei and Skycom, a company with operations in Iran, actions that the US says constitute fraud to circumvent the sanctions.
In July, a spokesperson for Huawei Canada, Alykhan Velshi, told EFE that the documents handed over by HSBC prove that executives at the London-based bank were fully aware of Huawei’s connection to Skycom and that Meng did not lie to the financial institution.
But on July 9, Holmes rejected a request by Meng’s lawyers to admit as evidence the documents that Huawei says exonerate the company’s board of directors.
The decision was a blow to Huawei’s chief financial officer, who was detained by Canada on Dec. 1, 2018, during a stopover in Vancouver en route from Hong Kong to Mexico City, at the request of the US.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Huawei Canada said that the company “remains confident in Ms Meng’s innocence,” adding that “the United States has both mischaracterized evidence and omitted other evidence to establish a case of fraud.”
“Its misconduct in certifying misleading evidence, coupled with its shifting theory of the case, has corroded the fairness of the Canadian legal proceedings,” the statement said.
Meng’s arrest has caused a serious diplomatic dispute between Canada and China.
A few hours after her arrest in 2018, China detained two Canadian citizens, former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor, on allegations of endangering China’s national security.
The two men were tried in March on charges of acquiring and selling state secrets to foreign forces, but China has yet to announce a verdict.
Canada has denounced the “arbitrary” arrest of its two citizens and the trials that took place behind closed doors.
Meanwhile, Meng is out on bail and lives in Vancouver with her family in one of the two mansions that she owns in the Canadian city.
Over the next few days, the Canadian prosecution will present its arguments to Holmes in favor of Meng’s extradition. EFE jcr/pd/tw