Huawei CFO's arrest at airport to be focus of Vancouver hearing

Vancouver, CanadaUpdated: Sep 23, 2019, 05:45 PM IST

File photo of Meng Wanzhou. Photograph:(Reuters)

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The arrest has strained China's relations with both the United States and Canada.

Lawyers for Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou will be in a Canadian courtroom on Monday to press for details surrounding her arrest at Vancouver's airport nearly 10 months ago.

Meng, 47, was detained on December 1 at the request of the United States, where she is charged with bank fraud and accused of misleading HSBC Holdings Plc about Huawei Technologies Co Ltd's business in Iran. Meng, who is expected in court, has said she is innocent and is fighting extradition.

The arrest has strained China's relations with both the United States and Canada.

At Monday's 10 am (1700 GMT) hearing before Justice Heather Holmes of the British Columbia Supreme Court, Meng's defense team will request more disclosure surrounding her detention at the airport, including contacts between US and Canadian authorities.

Meng's lawyers argue she was unlawfully detained, searched and questioned for over three hours after she landed on a flight from Hong Kong. Under the ruse of an immigration check, the defense claims, Canadian officials delayed her arrest and collected evidence for US authorities.

Extradition proceedings against Meng should be halted if officials abused the process, the lawyers say. Besides accusations of misconduct related to her detention, they argue the United States is using Meng for economic and political gain, noting that after her arrest, US President Donald Trump said he would intervene if it would help close a trade deal.

Lawyers for Canada will respond to the demand for more information about Meng's arrest in court, according to a Canadian Department of Justice spokesman, who added that Meng had already been provided with "extensive disclosure, beyond what is required."

Canadian police and border officers, in response to a civil claim Meng filed earlier this year, have said they acted "lawfully and in good faith."

Vancouver lawyer Gary Botting, who has seen a video of Meng being detained at the airport, said immigration officials came across as "Keystone Cops."

"There are real questions about whether her rights were violated," said Botting, who briefed Meng's defense team on Canada's extradition law after her arrest but is no longer involved with the case.

The extradition hearing itself is not scheduled to start until January.

Meng, the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, spent 10 days in jail in December but was then released on C$10 million ($7.5 million) bail and is living in one of her two multimillion-dollar homes in Vancouver. She is required to wear an electronic ankle bracelet and pay for security guards.

Huawei, the world's largest telecommunications equipment maker, has been accused by the United States of activities contrary to national security or foreign policy interests.

US and Chinese officials resumed trade talks last week, as the world’s two largest economies try to negotiate a way out of their 14-month trade war.