Canada seeks to block new evidence at Huawei exec extradition hearing

Canada seeks to block new evidence at Huawei exec extradition hearing

by David Ball

The Canadian government on Tuesday asked a judge to reject Chinese Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou’s argument that the bid to extradite her to the US should be quashed because it omitted key facts.

Crown counsel Robert Frater, speaking on a second day of hearings this week into whether Meng should be handed over to US authorities, explained that the evidentiary bar is much lower in extradition proceedings than in criminal trials.

And he said that allowing the missing evidence and expert testimony would unnecessarily prolong the proceedings.

Earlier Meng’s attorneys argued that the case should be thrown out because it claimed the US had excluded significant details that could prove to be exculpatory.

“Extradition hearings are not trials,” Frater said.

He urged Justice Heather Holmes to “refuse to spend precious court time on issues that have no hope of success” and “not to let this proceeding become a trial.”

“You should stop this application here and now,” he said.

The Chinese telecom giant’s chief financial officer was arrested on a US warrant in December 2018 during a stopover in Vancouver.

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

US indictments allege that Meng and the world’s largest telecoms equipment manufacturer conducted business in Iran in violation of US sanctions through Skycom, which the US Justice Department says is a poorly disguised Huawei front company.

The US claims Meng fraudulently concealed these dealings from HSBC, putting the bank at risk of unknowingly violating Iran sanctions.

It pointed to a presentation Meng made in 2013 to an HSBC executive after the British banking group, worried over potential Iran exposure, requested an explanation.

But Meng insists she was up-front with HSBC and its executive at the Hong Kong tea room meeting.

“She told them everything they needed to know to measure sanctions risk,” defense lawyer Scott Fenton told the court on Monday, including how processing any related transactions through the US banking system could put HSBC in jeopardy.

Another of Meng’s lawyers, Frank Addario, on Tuesday said the US had left out this and other key parts of that Powerpoint presentation in the extradition request.

Meng remains under house arrest in Vancouver while the extradition case, which is due to wrap up in March or April 2021, is heard.

This leg of the proceedings is scheduled to continue through Friday, but could end sooner.


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