Lawyers for Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou ask judge for adjournment in final extradition hearings

Lawyers for Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou ask judge for adjournment in final extradition hearings

VANCOUVER – Meng Wanzhou’s attorneys on Monday asked a British Columbia Supreme Court judge to postpone the final hearing in the Huawei executive’s extradition trial one week in advance.

Richard Peck said the legal team needed time to review new evidence, obtained through a court order in Hong Kong, that could support the argument that the United States misled Canadian officials in describing the allegations against Meng.

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“We ask for a reasonable time to evaluate the documents and determine their likely admissibility,” he said.

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In response, an attorney for the Canadian Attorney General argued that there was no basis on which to believe the documents were relevant and accused Meng’s team of attempting to turn the extradition hearing into a trial.

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After two and a half years of legal proceedings and just a few days after reaching the finish line, the complainant asked this court to take a break of several months. Your request should be denied, ”said the Crown in a written response.

Meng was arrested at Vancouver Airport in 2018 at the request of the United States in response to fraud allegations that both she and Huawei deny.

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She is accused of lied to HSBC during a presentation in 2013 that Huawei controls its subsidiary Skycom, which puts the bank at risk of violating US sanctions against Iran.

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The court heard that Huawei sold Skycom in 2007 to Canicula Holdings, another company that Huawei financially controlled.

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While Meng’s Canadian attorneys have not yet seen most of HSBC’s documents and their contents are unclear, Peck believes they will shed some light on what the bank knew about the relationship between the companies and how much they relied on them Presentation by Meng from 2013.

“We say these materials are relevant because they are referenced by the bank at the time, including the parties involved in this matter,” Peck said.

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Meng’s team also said in court documents that Canada’s attorney general should open an investigation into whether Meng was arrested for inaccurate information.

Peck suggested postponing the final three weeks of the hearing, due to begin April 26, to August 3, to allow time for such an investigation as well as for COVID-19 cases to subside.

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However, Robert Frater, attorney for the Canadian Attorney General, said there was no evidence that the new documents were relevant to the extradition case.

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Meng’s team relies entirely on two letters from Huawei’s US attorneys alleging allegations, but support for the allegations is being edited and those attorneys are “linked” to Meng, he said.

He added that the US has “vigorously” denied the allegations, which is why Meng’s team is essentially asking the British Columbia Supreme Court to weigh one side against the other, a job better suited to the US trial.

Frater also accused Meng’s team of making “judicial purchases” on behalf of a court that would authorize disclosure of the document.

Meng’s lawyers had previously failed to access the same documents through a UK court.

“After receiving a ‘no’ answer from the UK court my friends went to Hong Kong and inexplicably HSBC, the same trial attorney who appeared in the UK court, completely reversed his position after winning every single point before the UK Court, ”said Frater.

“For reasons known only to itself, HSBC turned around and decided to agree to an order.”

Frater called the adjournment motion an “11th hour” request, adding that the Hong Kong court had not given a schedule for when the documents could be shared with Meng’s team.

There is no credible basis for an independent investigation and Canada is under no obligation to investigate the evidence underlying extradition requests from its contractors, he said.

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The widespread public interest in Meng’s extradition case only adds to the urgency to complete it, he said.

“Extraditions hearings are supposed to be quick,” said Frater.

Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes has reserved her decision until Wednesday.

© 2021 The Canadian Press