A Canadian prosecutor has urged the judge deciding whether Huawei Technologies executive Meng Wanzhou should be extradited to the U.S. not to spend time on defence arguments that have nothing to do with the extradition case.
Crown lawyer Robert Frater said lawyers for Ms. Meng are trying to turn the extradition proceedings into a trial on the U.S. charges and he urged Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes to resist those efforts.
“Your duty here … is not to let this proceeding become a trial, not to admit expert evidence on causality in U.S. sanctions law to force us to file responding evidence so that you can decide an issue on which, with greatest respect, you have no expertise,” Mr. Frater said.
He told Justice Holmes that as an extradition judge, she should keep these proceedings moving quickly and refuse to spend precious court time on legal arguments that have no hope of succeeding.
Ms. Meng, 48, was arrested by RCMP on a U.S. extradition request in late 2018 while transiting through Vancouver International Airport. She is accused of misrepresenting Huawei’s relationship with a subsidiary based in Iran, called Skycom, during a 2013 PowerPoint presentation to HSBC, putting the bank at risk of violating U.S. sanctions against Iran.
The defence argued Monday the U.S. authorities omitted key facts of Ms. Meng’s presentation to HSBC and that Ms. Meng and Huawei had given the bank all the information needed to assess the risk. Defence lawyer Frank Addario told the judge Tuesday that the U.S. describes the PowerPoint presentation as the “cornerstone of its case,” yet only describes part of the presentation in its case summary.
Instead, Mr. Addario said additional slides show that Ms. Meng clearly described the Huawei and Skycom relationship as one of partners that both did business in Iran. The bank had the information it needed to navigate trade laws, he argued.
But Mr. Frater called the PowerPoint “cheap documents” that need to be put in context. He said the PowerPoint presentation was used to persuade HSBC to continue the relationship with Huawei and to distance Huawei from Skycom.
Justice Holmes is considering whether to allow the defence team to present an argument next year that Ms. Meng was the victim of an abuse of process because they allege the United States misled Canadian officials in its summary of allegations. The defence is also asking the court to admit further evidence to support that claim.
But Mr. Frater said an extradition hearing is not the place for that: Evidence that establishes a defence or an alternative inference of what happened does not meet the test of relevance for an extradition hearing. He urged Justice Holmes to dismiss the defence team’s motion.
“It falls to you to try to keep these proceedings on the straight and narrow,” Mr. Frater told Justice Holmes.
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