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Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou leaves her home to attend her extradition hearing at B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on January 22, 2020.JENNIFER GAUTHIER/Reuters

The U.S. government is asking a New York judge to limit Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.'s ability to share evidence disclosed during its battle against criminal charges in the United States with chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, who is fighting extradition from Canada.

The U.S. Department of Justice, in a May 7 filing with the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, said it fears Ms. Meng, whom it calls a “fugitive from justice,” is trying to gather evidence from the company’s U.S. court battle so she can “litigate the merits of a U.S. criminal prosecution” against her in Canada.

Both Huawei and Ms. Meng face criminal charges in the U.S. as part of what American prosecutors allege is a conspiracy by the Chinese tech giant to violate U.S. sanctions on Iran. U.S. authorities accuse Ms. Meng and other Huawei executives of lying to banks so that they would clear transactions with Iran through the U.S., despite U.S. sanctions against doing business with Iran.

Ms. Meng remains in Canada, where she was arrested in December, 2018, on a U.S. extradition request that she’s contesting in a Vancouver court. In the U.S., however, her company is already fighting the charges it faces. In the course of this case, Huawei’s U.S. legal team is being given documents that are in the government’s possession and comprise evidence. This information could include banking records or transcripts, for instance.

“Meng could easily use ... materials from this case to improperly challenge the extradition process by attempting to convert an extradition hearing into a criminal trial in which the U.S. government is not a party, leaving the U.S. government with no proper course of redress," U.S. district attorney Richard Donoghue wrote.

A U.S. court order already in place forbids Huawei from taking out of the U.S. any evidence that American prosecutors designate as “sensitive discovery material," or allowing anyone outside of the U.S. to review it. But Huawei has applied to the court for permission to share some evidence with Ms. Meng.

Prosecutors also fear Ms. Meng might use evidence to frighten potential witnesses from banks caught up in Huawei’s alleged misdeeds and deter them from taking the stand. “If, for example, Meng chose to provide or describe [sensitive evidence] to the press in an effort to chill witnesses who would appear in her (or Huawei’s) prosecution in the United States, there would be no recourse against her,” Mr. Donoghue wrote.

The U.S. government has been long concerned that Huawei might take evidence disclosed by American prosecutors in New York and leak it to media to try to help the Huawei executive’s case in Canada. Some of the evidence, Mr. Donoghue said in his filing, includes “sensitive internal discussions among employees of victim financial institutions” that the U.S. says processed transactions for Huawei without knowing they were violating sanctions.

Richard Kurland, a Vancouver immigration lawyer who has followed the Meng case closely, said he is baffled by the U.S. argument. The U.S. Justice Department is saying that Ms. Meng can’t get access to discovery documents in her own case, but Huawei can, he said.

“Their position is that as a fugitive fighting extradition to the United States that Meng is not entitled to discovery,” he said. “But the law says she is innocent until proven guilty so she is not a fugitive. They are also saying Huawei may be entitled to discovery but not Ms. Meng, but she is the CFO of Huawei so she would be expected to be able to defend Huawei.”

Mr. Kurland says he believes U.S. prosecutors are “buying time” and are worried that evidence released during the legal process known as discovery could show Huawei had been violating Iran sanctions with the knowledge of banks.

Huawei Technologies Canada declined to comment Thursday night when asked for its reaction to the U.S. court filing.

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