Huawei exec’s de­fence team al­leges Cana­di­ans were ‘agents’ of the FBI

The Peterborough Examiner - - Canada & World - AMY SMART

VAN­COU­VER — A de­fence team for a Chi­nese tele­com ex­ec­u­tive is al­leg­ing Cana­dian of­fi­cials acted as “agents” of Amer­i­can law en­force­ment while she was de­tained at Van­cou­ver’s air­port for three hours ahead of her ar­rest.

In court doc­u­ments re­leased this week, de­fence lawyers for Huawei chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer Meng Wanzhou point to hand­writ­ten notes by Cana­dian of­fi­cers in­di­cat­ing Meng’s elec­tron­ics were col­lected in an­tic­i­pa­tion of a re­quest from the Fed­eral Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion in the United States.

The notes show the RCMP asked the FBI if the U.S. was in­ter­ested in Meng’s lug­gage and that a Canada Border Ser­vices Agency of­fi­cer wrote down Meng’s pass­codes, while an­other ques­tioned her about Huawei’s al­leged busi­ness in Iran.

This hap­pened be­fore she was in­formed of her ar­rest, the de­fence says.

“The RCMP and/or CBSA were act­ing as agents of the FBI for the pur­pose of ob­tain­ing and pre­serv­ing ev­i­dence,” al­leges a mem­o­ran­dum of fact and law filed by the de­fence.

“The ques­tion that re­mains is to what ex­tent and how the FBI were in­volved in this scheme.”

The ma­te­ri­als col­lected by the de­fence were re­leased ahead of an eight-day hear­ing sched­uled for Septem­ber, in which the de­fence is ex­pected to ar­gue for ac­cess to more doc­u­men­ta­tion ahead of Meng’s ex­tra­di­tion trial.

The At­tor­ney Gen­eral of Canada has yet to file a re­sponse and none of the al­le­ga­tions have been tested in court.

Meng’s ar­rest at Van­cou­ver air­port has sparked a diplo­matic cri­sis be­tween Canada and China and drawn in­ter­na­tional scru­tiny of Cana­dian ex­tra­di­tion laws.

She was ar­rested at the be­hest of the U.S., which is seek­ing her ex­tra­di­tion on fraud charges in vi­o­la­tion of sanc­tions with Iran. Both Meng and Huawei have de­nied any wrong­do­ing. Meng is free on bail and is liv­ing in one of her mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar homes in Van­cou­ver.

The RCMP and CBSA did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to re­quests for com­ment on the doc­u­ments but have said in a re­sponse to a civil claim that border of­fi­cials only ex­am­ined Meng and her lug­gage for im­mi­gra­tion and cus­toms pur­poses.

Meng ex­tra­di­tion trial won’t be­gin un­til Jan. 20, but the court doc­u­ments shed light on her de­fence team’s planned ar­gu­ments that her ar­rest was un­law­ful and for the ben­e­fit of the United States.

“These are al­le­ga­tions of a pur­pose­ful vi­o­la­tion of a court or­der and the abuse of im­por­tant Cana­dian le­gal norms for im­proper pur­poses, namely, to fur­ther the ob­jec­tives of the re­quest­ing state,” the de­fence says.

They plan to ar­gue that the U.S. com­mit­ted an abuse of process by us­ing the ex­tra­di­tion pro­ceed­ings for po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic gain. Parts of the de­fence are com­ments by U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump that he would in­ter­vene in Meng’s case “if nec­es­sary.”

The seizure of elec­tron­ics and ques­tion­ing of Meng by border of­fi­cials in Canada also fol­lows a pat­tern of how Huawei em­ploy­ees have been treated at U.S. ports of en­try.

“This tar­get­ing has in­cluded the ap­par­ent abuse of cus­toms and im­mi­gra­tion pow­ers to search and ques­tion Huawei em­ploy­ees at var­i­ous U.S. ports of en­try,” the doc­u­ments say.

The de­fence ac­cuses of­fi­cers of in­ten­tion­ally poor note keep­ing that ob­scures what ex­actly hap­pened, in­clud­ing why the ar­rest plan ap­par­ently changed.

The doc­u­ments sug­gest that Cana­dian of­fi­cials ini­tially planned to ar­rest Meng “im­me­di­ately” af­ter she landed, by board­ing the plane be­fore she got off. In­stead, three CBSA of­fi­cers im­me­di­ately de­tained Meng when she dis­em­barked the plane while two RCMP of­fi­cers stood nearby and watched, de­spite their knowl­edge of the war­rant calling for her “im­me­di­ate” ar­rest, the de­fence says.

JONATHAN HAY­WARD THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

A B.C. Supreme Court judge has agreed with what she calls a "some­what un­usual" re­quest to pro­vide doc­u­ments and a video di­rectly to me­dia ahead of an ex­tra­di­tion hear­ing for Huawei ex­ec­u­tive Meng Wanzhou.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.