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U.S. using fraud allegations to dress up sanctions complaint: Meng's defence

Last Updated Nov 28, 2019 at 5:53 pm PST

Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, who is out on bail and remains under partial house arrest after she was detained last year at the behest of American authorities, wears a Chinese flag pin on her dress as she leaves her home to attend a court hearing in Vancouver, on Tuesday October 1, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

VANCOUVER — Lawyers for Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou say the United States is “dressing up” its complaint that she violated sanctions as a case of fraud and have asked the B.C. Supreme Court to decline her extradition.

Meng is free on bail and living in one of her homes in Vancouver while awaiting an extradition hearing following her arrest last December at the request of the United States.

She is accused of lying about Huawei’s relationship with its Iran-based affiliate Skycom to one of its bankers, HSBC, but she denies any wrongdoing and the allegations have not been tested in court.

In court documents released Thursday, Meng’s legal team says the alleged misrepresentation does not amount to fraud and the transactions processed by HSBC were not illegal in Canada.

The defence says the case is really about the United States seeking to enforce its Iranian sanctions laws against Meng for conduct that took place outside both the United States and Canada.

The attorney general of Canada has not yet filed its written arguments, but in May Crown prosecutor John Gibb-Carsley called the focus on sanctions a “complete red herring” and said the allegations against Meng centre on the alleged misrepresentation that put the bank’s economic interests at risk.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2019.

The Canadian Press