Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou intends to seek a stay of extradition proceedings in part based on statements by President Donald Trump about the case, which her lawyers say disqualifies the United States from pursuing the matter in Canada.
CFO Meng, 47, the daughter of Huawei Technologies Co Ltd’s billionaire founder, Ren Zhengfei, was arrested at Vancouver’s airport in December on a U.S. warrant and is fighting extradition on charges that she conspired to defraud global banks about Huawei’s relationship with a company operating in Iran.
After the arrest, Trump told Reuters he would intervene in the U.S. case against Meng if it would help close a trade deal with China.
Meng’s defense lawyers said in a document presented to the British Columbia Supreme Court on Wednesday that they intend to apply for the stay of the extradition proceedings based on abuses that go beyond Trump’s comments.
The lawyers also claim Meng was unlawfully detained, searched and interrogated at the airport, with her arrest delayed under the guise of a routine immigration check.
In addition, Meng’s counsel argued there is no evidence she misrepresented to a bank Huawei’s relationship with a company operating in Iran called Skycom, thereby putting the bank at risk of violating U.S. sanctions law, or that the bank relied on her statements to its detriment.
The lawyers claim the bank understood the relationship between Huawei and Skycom.
Huawei has previously said Skycom was a local business partner in Iran. The United States maintains it was an unofficial subsidiary used to conceal Huawei’s Iran business.
Meng defense lawyer Scott Fenton told the court that during Meng’s three-hour detention at the airport in December, Meng’s rights “were placed in total suspension.”
The lawyers also argue Meng cannot be extradited because the conduct at issue would not be criminal in Canada.
The bank and wire fraud charges do not meet that criteria because Meng is accused of misrepresenting HSBC to engage in transactions that violate U.S. sanctions laws, the lawyers said. They also note that, under 2019 Canadian sanction law, there would be no risk of fines or forfeiture for any bank in Canada.
“Put another way, the alleged offence could only exist in a country that prohibits international financial transactions in relation to Iran,” the lawyers said in court documents.
“Canada is no longer such a country,” the lawyers said.
Meng’s lawyers did not say when they would apply for the stay of the extradition hearing, whose date has not been set. She will next appear in court on Sept. 23, when her defence will make more applications for further disclosure surrounding her arrest at the airport. The process could take years.
Meng’s case has attracted global attention and sparked a diplomatic crisis between Beijing and Ottawa. China has repeatedly demanded Meng’s release.
Huawei said in a statement on Wednesday that the criminal case against Meng is based on allegations that are simply not true, adding that the U.S.-ordered arrest was “guided by political considerations and tactics, not by the rule of law.”