News World Accused Huawei executive fights US extradition

Accused Huawei executive fights US extradition

huawei executive extradition
Meng Wanzhou leaves home in Vancouver, bound for court. Photo: Getty
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Huawei’s chief financial officer intends to seek a stay on extradition proceedings, her lawyers arguing that statements by US President Donald Trump about the case disqualify the US from pursuing the matter in Canada.

Meng Wanzhou, 47, the daughter of Huawei’s billionaire founder Ren Zhengfei, was arrested at Vancouver’s airport in December on a US warrant.

Ms Meng is fighting extradition on fraud charges including allegations she misled global banks about Huawei’s relationship with a company operating in Iran.

Ms Meng’s defence lawyers said in a document that she has been unlawfully detained in Canada and that there is no evidence she misrepresented to a bank Huawei’s relationship with a company operating in Iran called Skycom, thereby putting the bank at risk of violating US sanctions law, or that the bank relied on her statements.

A spokesman for HSBC, which has been identified as the bank, declined to comment.

Huawei has previously said Skycom was a local business partner in Iran, while the US maintains it was an unofficial subsidiary used to conceal Huawei’s Iran business.

Defence lawyer Scott Fenton told the court that during her three-hour detention in December, Ms Meng’s rights “were placed in total suspension”.

The lawyers also claim Ms Meng cannot be extradited because Canada should not extradite a person to face punishment for conduct that is not criminal in Canada.

The bank and wire fraud charges do not meet that criteria because Ms Meng is accused of encouraging HSBC to engage in transactions that violate US sanctions laws. But there would be no risk of fines or forfeiture for any bank in Canada.

“Put another way, the alleged offence could only exist in a country that prohibits international financial transactions in relation to Iran,” the lawyers said in court documents. “Canada is no longer such a country.”

Ms Meng will next appear in court on September 23, when her defence will make more applications for more disclosure. No date has been yet set for an extradition hearing, a process that could take years.

Her case has attracted global attention and sparked a diplomatic crisis between Beijing and Ottawa. China has repeatedly demanded Ms Meng’s release.

Huawei said in a statement on Wednesday that the criminal case against Ms Meng is based on allegations that are simply not true, adding that the US-ordered arrest was “guided by political considerations and tactics, not by the rule of law”.

Huawei and Skycom are also defendants in the US case, accused of bank and wire fraud, as well as violating US sanctions on Iran.

Ms Meng’s lawyers said comments by Mr Trump, who told Reuters the charges against Ms Meng could be dropped if that would help China trade talks, disqualify the US from pursuing the case further in Canadian courts.

Ms Meng was released from jail in December on C$10 million ($A10.6 million) bail and must wear a GPS tracker, an ankle bracelet and pay for security guards.