November 26, 2020
By Sarah Berman
VANCOUVER (Reuters) – Lawyers for Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou will further press the Canadian police supervisor in charge of her arrest two years ago, as witness testimony in the case to extradite Meng to the United States continues.
Defense lawyers are seeking evidence to back their claims that Meng’s civil rights were violated in the lead up to her arrest by Canadian police at Vancouver International Airport, in an attempt to get the extradition case overturned.
Meng, 48, was arrested in December 2018 on a warrant from the United States. She is facing charges of bank fraud for allegedly misleading HSBC about Huawei Technologies Co Ltd’s business dealings in Iran, causing the bank to break U.S. sanctions.
Meng has said she is innocent and is fighting the extradition from under house arrest in Vancouver. Her lawyers have claimed that abuses of process took place during her initial investigation by the Canadian border officials and arrest by the police in the airport, which violated her civil rights.
Prosecutors have submitted that Meng’s interrogation and arrest followed rules.
Testimony in British Columbia’s Supreme Court has focused on what the defense has described as the alleged coordination between U.S. and Canadian authorities ahead of Meng’s arrest. Her lawyers have claimed that authorities used the additional investigative powers of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to interrogate Meng without a lawyer present, and extract identifying details – including serial numbers and passcodes – of her electronic devices to pass to U.S. authorities.
CBSA officials previously testified they noted down Meng’s device passcodes as a matter of process and mistakenly gave them to the RCMP.
On Wednesday, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Sergeant Janice Vander Graaf testified police had not requested the passcodes, and said the emails she read did not support the claims by Meng’s lawyers that the serial numbers had been sent to the FBI.
Witnesses from the CBSA and RCMP have testified over almost three weeks on the events surrounding Meng’s detention and arrest. Witness testimony is set to last until Friday, with the potential for two to three more days scheduled in December.
Diplomatic relations between Ottawa and Beijing have deteriorated since Meng’s arrest. China arrested Canadian citizens Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig on espionage charges days later.
Meng’s extradition hearing is expected to wrap up in April 2021.
(Reporting by Sarah Berman in Vancouver; additional reporting by Moira Warburton in Toronto; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)