Lawyers for Meng Wanzhou can argue the United States misled Canadian officials about the Huawei executive as she seeks to avoid extradition from Canada, says a senior B.C. justice.
“I have concluded that there is an air of reality to Ms. Meng’s allegations of abuse of process in relation to the requesting state’s conduct in certifying the [record of the case],” Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes wrote in her Thursday ruling, adding she would allow discussion in court on some of the material.
The ruling clears Ms. Meng’s lawyers to argue that certain statements were left out of a summary of a PowerPoint presentation – the main evidence against the chief financial officer in a fraud claim central to a case that has drawn global attention.
In late 2018 Ms. Meng was arrested by RCMP on a U.S. extradition request while transiting through Vancouver International Airport.
She faces numerous charges in the U.S., along with the Chinese telecommunications giant itself, including violating U.S. sanctions against Iran. The American charge for which she was arrested in Canada is fraud – lying to a bank – which is a crime in both this country and the U.S.
Ms. Meng and Huawei deny the allegations.
Ms. Meng’s lawyers allege that her questioning and arrest at the airport was unlawful, that she has been used as a “bargaining chip" by U.S. President Donald Trump in relations with China, and that the U.S. misled Canadian officials in its summary of allegations against her.
Thursday’s ruling revolves around evidence the U.S. government has cited to make its case that the Huawei CFO lied, namely a 2013 PowerPoint presentation consisting of 16 slides that Ms. Meng personally delivered to HSBC bankers in Hong Kong.
Ms. Meng, according to the ruling, had requested the meeting after various inquiries from HSBC management to Huawei executives about allegations in two Reuters articles associating Huawei with Skycom Tech. Co. Ltd., a company said to have engaged in sanctions-violating business conduct in Iran.
Ms. Meng alleges that the United States deliberately misstated or omitted material evidence in the record of the case on which it will rely in seeking her extradition.
“She submits that the full PowerPoint should be admitted as evidence in her extradition hearing so that the judge can carry out a meaningful assessment of the reliability of the evidence in the ROC [record of the case], including the summary,” the ruling said.
“It is her position that the full PowerPoint shows that she was not, in fact, untruthful, and that the ROC, through its summary, is misleading in implying that she was," the justice wrote. "I agree that some additional evidence from the PowerPoint may be admitted,.”
While Justice Holmes said the entire PowerPoint does not meet the test for admission, she wrote, “I do agree with Ms. Meng that the summary in the ROC should have included certain statements from the PowerPoint that add further precision to Ms. Meng’s statements about Huawei’s business relationship with Skycom in Iran.”
With a file from the Canadian Press.
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