Huawei CFO Wins Small Court Victory in Canada Extradition Case
(Bloomberg) -- Huawei Technologies Co.’s chief financial officer achieved a small victory in her fight against extradition to the U.S., when a Canadian judge ruled that she can introduce additional evidence to buttress her argument that the U.S. handover request is so deeply flawed it should be thrown out.
Meng Wanzhou will be permitted to bring forward “some, but not all” of the evidence she had requested, Supreme Court of British Columbia Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes said in a written decision released Thursday. Some of that evidence “is realistically capable of challenging the reliability” of the U.S. extradition request, Holmes said.
The 48-year-old Chinese executive was arrested in Vancouver in December 2018 at the request of the U.S., where she’s charged with fraud for having allegedly tricked HSBC Holdings Plc into processing Iran-linked transactions, putting the bank at risk of violating American sanctions.
Her defense has argued that request and its supporting documents were so “grossly inaccurate” that they constitute an abuse of process grave enough to justify having the court dismiss the extradition case. In September, prosecutors sought to thwart that strategy, saying her allegations didn’t meet the threshold to allow a separate hearing to argue the matter.
Holmes dismissed the prosecution’s request to shut down the process, saying she will allow Meng to bring forward two key pieces of evidence.
One is a batch of emails, which show that HSBC was well aware of Huawei’s business relationships in Iran and couldn’t have been misled by Meng about them, according to the defense.
The other is an excerpt from a separate 2012 deferred prosecution agreement in which the U.S. Department of Justice said it could revive criminal charges against HSBC if the bank “knowingly” processes transactions that violate sanctions in the future.
That doesn’t square with the U.S. case against Meng, where the U.S. argues that HSBC unwittingly processed illegal transactions because she misled the bank. Holmes noted that in Meng’s handover request, the U.S. dropped the word “knowingly” in its summary of that risk to HSBC.
The victory comes after a series of setbacks for Meng in the long-running proceedings. In May, she saw her first attempt at release quashed when Holmes ruled that her case met a key test of Canada’s extradition law. Three months later, a federal court rejected her request to access documents withheld on national security grounds. Then, last month, she failed to convince Holmes to grant her access to confidential documents redacted or withheld by the Canadian government about her arrest.
The case against Meng, eldest daughter of billionaire Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, has cast a spotlight on a broader Trump administration effort to contain China and Huawei, the world’s largest maker of telecommunications equipment, which Washington sees as a national security threat.
This week, Meng is back in court for the latest round of hearings in which Canadian border and police officers involved in her arrest have testified. She accuses border agents, police and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation of unlawfully using the pretext of an immigration check to get her to disclose evidence that may be used against her.
The U.S. case is U.S. v. Huawei Technologies Co., 18-cr-457, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).
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