USA misstated allegations against Meng Wanzhou to Canada: lawyer

Clay Curtis
September 30, 2020

Meng is wanted on fraud charges in the United States, which she and Huawei have denied. Her arrest infuriated Beijing, which sees her case as a political move created to prevent China's rise.

The U.S. accuses Huawei of using a Hong Kong shell company called Skycom to sell equipment to Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions. Meng is accused of lying to an HSBC executive about Huawei's control of a company alleged to have violated the sanctions.

Gary Botting, an extradition lawyer based in Vancouver, said the defense's success "depends entirely on the nature of the evidence ... and whether or not there is any substance to their allegations".

Despite the Covid-19 outbreak's disruptions of trials in Canada, Meng's case has proceeded by teleconference - though at a slow pace.

But Frater told Holmes that an extradition judge has a duty as gatekeeper to ensure proceedings are swift and focused.

She is charged with bank fraud linked to violations of United States sanctions against Iran, and has been fighting extradition ever since.

"You're being asked to turn this into a US trial and our submission is you have to stand firm against that", Frater said.

Fenton and Addario said the ROC omitted parts of the PowerPoint presentation in which Meng described Huawei's business relationship with a partner called Skycom that was working in Iran - the very relationship the U.S. claims she tried to cover up. Now Meng claims the case should be tossed because the American claims include egregious errors, omissions and misrepresentations. They have accused the USA of using a misleading summary of the meeting that "cherry picks" evidence.

"The vast majority of what (Meng) stated to HSBC is not included in the (case) summary", Fenton said, adding that "key statements" she made to HSBC that could prove to be exculpatory were omitted.

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Huawei also at one point owned a stake in Skycom but sold its shares to another company that the United States says also was controlled by Huawei.

Earlier on Tuesday, Meng's lawyer Frank Addario said that a HSBC banker who met Meng in a Hong Kong teahouse in 2013 must have left the meeting knowing that Huawei and a partner were working in Iran.

Meng followed the proceedings through an interpreter, taking occasional sips from a water bottle. She was wearing a tracking device as part of her bail agreement.

Holmes is considering whether to allow the defence team to present an argument next year that Meng was the victim of an abuse of process because they allege the US misled Canadian officials in its summary of allegations.

Meng has previously argued that her arrest at Vancouver airport violated her constitutional rights and that the case against her has been politicized.

They also plan to argue the Royal Canadian Mounted Police acted at the behest of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to gather and share technical information about Meng's laptop, phones, and tablets, in violation of the Extradition Act.

Her detention threw China's relations with the U.S. and Canada into disarray. Soon after Meng's detention, China arrested Canadian citizens Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, charging them with espionage. China has also placed restrictions on various Canadian exports to China, including canola oil seed.

Meng Wanzhou arrives at the BC Supreme Court to attend a hearing in Vancouver on Tuesday.

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