VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A Chinese telecom executive accused of fraud and on house arrest in Vancouver says she’s a victim of a politically motivated “abuse of power” and wants her case thrown out.
Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou was back in court Wednesday, where her lawyers argued she was illegally arrested and detained at YVR Airport on Dec. 1, 2018.
“The RCMP intentionally delayed the presentation of the arrest warrant, in order to carry out the unlawful detention and search against Ms. Meng. This was done under the pretense of a routine border check,” Huawei VP of Canadian Media Affairs Benjamin Howes said outside the courthouse following proceedings.
He says Meng’s charges of conspiracy, fraud and obstruction for violating U.S. sanctions in Iran are not a basis for extradition from Canada.
“Canada does not impose sanctions on financial services in relation to Iran. Because of this, the allegations she faces is not a crime in Canada. Therefore, the extradition request does not satisfy the double criminality requirement,” he argued. “Political factors at play during the extradition process may lead to a serious violation of justice. Ms. Meng’s legitimate rights may also be harmed. Thus, Ms. Meng intends to apply to this Court for a stay of the extradition proceedings.”
The lawyers say they will apply to have prosecutors disclose more information about the case, specifically Meng’s arrest.
Wednesday’s court proceedings largely focused on when the disclosure application would be heard in court. A date was set for Sept. 23-Oct. 4 in B.C. Supreme Court. A date for a preliminary hearing for the legality of the extradition was not set, but Meng’s lawyers have requested a delay until at least mid-January 2020.
Meng was also granted a change in her bail conditions allowing her to move from the $5-million home she’s been staying at in the Dunbar neighbourhood to another home in Shaughnessy, which is worth twice as much. Her lawyers argued the home in Shaughnessy is larger and better protected — including a gate.
Meng was arrested in December at Vancouver’s airport at the request of the United States, which is seeking her extradition on fraud charges. She has been free on $10 million bail, wearing an electronic tracking device and monitored by a security company.
Meng is accused of misrepresenting Huawei’s ownership of an alleged subsidiary, Skycom, during a meeting with a bank in an effort to circumvent U.S. sanctions against Iran. Howes denies the allegations.
He says the bank had knowledge of the nature of Skycom’s business and operations in Iran, and it understood the relationship between Huawei and Skycom.
Tensions between China and Canada have escalated since Meng’s arrest. Just days after she was arrested, China imprisoned two Canadians.
Michael Kovrig, who was on leave from Global Affairs Canada, and entrepreneur Michael Spavor’s arrests are widely seen as retaliation for the Huawei CFO’s detention.
China accused the pair of acting together to steal state secrets just days after Ottawa announce it would proceed with a U.S. extradition request for Meng. However, Trudeau has dismissed the reports, saying it’s unfortunate China is continuing with the “arbitrary detentions.”
Meantime, China has also banned shipments of canola and some pork imports in what is widely seen as economic retaliation for the arrest.
– With files from the Canadian Press