Huawei’s lawyers will focus on refusing witnesses to testify in the US extradition

VANCOUVER (Reuters) – Monday’s hearings on the US extradition of Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer, should focus on a former Canadian police officer who refused to testify despite being a key witness to the main allegations. Canadian and American authorities inappropriately coordinated Meng’s arrest.

Meng, 49, is accused by the US of misleading HSBC about Huawei Technologies Co Ltd’s business dealings in Iran, forcing the bank to break US sanctions. Meng says he is innocent and is fighting his extradition from house arrest in Vancouver. If extradited, Meng will face a bank fraud trial in the United States.

The defense argued that trial abuses, including alleged coordination between Canadian and American authorities during his detention, should invalidate the extradition.

Canadian border officials interrogated Meng for three hours before federal police arrested her on a U.S. mandate in December 2018. Border officials confiscated Meng’s electronic devices and later admitted providing access codes. to the police by mistake.

Defense attorney Scott Fenton told British Columbia Supreme Court Justice on Friday that he would start on Monday by asking why Ben Chang, a former Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer who would pass the identification details of Meng’s electronic devices to the FBI, did not. was forced to testify.

Last week, Fenton and another defense attorney Mona Duckett challenged Canadian border officials’ alleged motives when they were questioning Meng prior to his arrest by police, claiming they were conducting a secret investigation for the FBI.

Canadian officials testified in November and December 2020 that they are following normal procedures. Canadian government lawyers called the defense team’s argument an unfounded “conspiracy” and said officials on both sides of the border followed due process.

Meng’s arrest has cooled diplomatic relations between China and Canada. Shortly after Meng’s arrest, Beijing arrested two Canadians on suspicion of spying. Michael Spavor’s trial ended on Friday, while Michael Kovrig’s trial will begin on Monday.

Reportage by Sarah Berman and Moira Warburton in Vancouver; Editing by Denny Thomas and Lisa Shumaker