Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou returned to court in Vancouver on Monday, with her lawyers claiming that the American bid to have her extradited on fraud charges should be thrown out because US authorities misled the Canadian court about their case against her.
The hearing got off to a chaotic start as Madam Justice Heather Holmes halted proceedings because of repeated audio interruptions on a media phone line. The phone line was set up to listen in on the proceedings because Covid-19 precautions have limited the number of seats available in the public gallery.
The proceedings resumed after 10 minutes, but Meng’s lawyer Scott Fenton had to repeat his opening remarks.
Meng’s lawyers said in a submission that US authorities’ record of the case (ROC) had omitted key details about a PowerPoint presentation that Meng delivered to a HSBC banker in Hong Kong in 2013 about Huawei’s business dealings in Iran.
Fenton told the court there was “fundamental unreliability and inaccuracy” in the US record of the case. The US had failed in its “duty of candour”, he added.
The PowerPoint presentation forms the basis of US fraud charges against Meng, chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies and the daughter of founder Ren Zhengfei.
US authorities claim she lied to HSBC about Huawei’s Iran dealings in a way that exposed the bank to the risk of breaching US sanctions against the country.
But her lawyers said Meng did not lie to the banker, referred to as “HSBC Witness B”; instead, US authorities had omitted the parts of her presentation that showed her describing the very business relationship with an affiliate called Skycom that the US claims she tried to cover up.
“The vast majority of what
Whether HSBC chose to take steps to avoid the risk, by using CHATS or by vetoing transactions, was entirely up to HSBC and was not in Meng’s control, said Fenton. But HSBC chose to process the transactions through its US subsidiary. “That has nothing to do with what Ms Meng told HSBC,” he said.
In their written submission, Meng’s lawyers said: “[The] Requesting State was not diligent, candid or accurate in setting out the facts it asks this court to rely upon. The Requesting State has misled the court about the Applicant’s representations to HSBC, the context in which they were made, and the resulting impact on HSBC.”
The submission continued: “As no other remedy can sufficiently address the prejudice to the Applicant and maintain the integrity of the proceedings before the court, the proceedings should be stayed.”
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