US extradition: Huawei lawyers set to grill witnesses

Huawei CFO's lawyers set to grill witnesses as US extradition case resumes

Representative image/Credit: Reuters Photo

The second day of witness testimony in the extradition case of Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou to the United States will kick off in a Canada courtroom on Tuesday, when her lawyers are expected to question officials involved in her 2018 arrest.

The five days of scheduled hearings will focus on allegations by her lawyers of abuses of process committed by Canadian and US authorities during her arrest in December two years ago at the Vancouver International Airport.

Meng, 48, is facing charges in the United States of bank fraud for allegedly misleading HSBC about Huawei's business dealings in Iran, causing the bank to break US sanction laws.

She has denied the charges and is fighting extradition from under house arrest in her Vancouver home, located in an upscale neighborhood of the Pacific coastal city.

Meng's lawyers have previously alleged that Canadian authorities improperly communicated with their US counterparts during her arrest, including sharing identifying details about her electronic devices.

Canada has denied this and provided affidavits from members of the federal Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) who were involved in Meng's arrest.

On Monday prosecutors for the Canadian government questioned Winston Yep, an RCMP constable who was involved in Meng's arrest, about how the decision was made to allow the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to arrest Meng, instead of the RCMP.

Meng's lawyers have argued that Canadian and American authorities made this decision because CBSA officers have special privileges in searching and investigating individuals crossing Canada's borders.

They strove on Monday to highlight lapses of due process during Meng's arrest, including Yep's failure to promptly complete a chronological account of the extradition as required by Canadian extradition law.

Meng's arrest triggered a chill in diplomatic relations between Ottawa and Beijing that is still continuing. Soon after her detention, China arrested Canadian citizens Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig on espionage charges in what was widely seen as retaliation.

The trial is scheduled to wrap up in April 2021, although the potential for appeals means the case could drag on for years through the Canadian justice system.

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