Huawei CFO appears at Canadian court fighting extradition, prepared for long legal battle

By Chen Qingqing Source:Global Times Published: 2019/5/9 13:50:37

Meng Wanzhou, Huawei CFO, walks out of her house and heads to the court hearing on Wednesday in Vancouver. Photo: Courtesy of Huawei

While Huawei chief financial officer (CFO) Meng Wanzhou continues to fight her extradition to the US in Canada by arguing the case is political in nature, the Chinese company has demonstrated rising confidence that it is prepared and well-positioned for a long legal battle, analysts said.

Meanwhile, some lawyers who talked with the Global Times suggested that there are some arguments that, if proven, would be adequate to end the legal proceedings.

Meng made an appearance at a court hearing on Wednesday at the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Vancouver. Meng's lawyers made three new and major disclosures to the court, including rebuking key allegations in the criminal case against the CFO, complaining repeated violations of her legal rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and revealing that her illegal detention violated Canada's extradition law.

The high-profile businesswoman was arrested in Canada in December 2018 at the request of the US, which led to marked deterioration of China-Canada relations on all fronts, ever since.

She now faces banking fraud charges as the US administration has accused her of lying to banks about Huawei's relations with Skycom, which the US side deemed breaking US government sanctions against Iran. However, Huawei repeatedly denied any wrongdoings.

"The criminal case against Meng is based on allegations that are not supported by facts. To the contrary, it was made clear in court today that business activities by Meng were conducted openly and transparently with full knowledge of the bank officials," Huawei said in a statement sent to the Global Times Thursday morning.

In March, Meng filed a lawsuit accusing Canadian authorities of violating her legal rights when they detained her at the request of the US at the airport, and her lawyers narrated these violations at Wednesday's court hearing.

In addition, the arrest of Meng violated a core principle of the extradition law and treaty between Canada and the US, Huawei said.

Her attorneys are also fighting Meng's extradition by citing US President Donald Trump's comments made concerning the case, which reveals explicit political intervention. Trump said that he could intervene and set Meng free if the move benefits US trade talks with China.

She was told by the judge to return to the court in September this year, with arguments and questions put together for full disclosure.

"If by then it is obvious that the Charter has been breached, there may be a preliminary application to stay the proceedings because of abuse of process, possibly including an allegation of interference from the President of the US," Gary Botting, a veteran extradition and criminal defense lawyer in Canada, told the Global Times on Thursday.

"If that application is successful, the extradition is bound to fail, and Meng would be discharged," he said.

Huawei said it trusts in the Canadian judicial process and had confidence in Meng's innocence. Some Chinese analysts urged Canada to look into the nature of this lawsuit.

"Although going through legal procedures is important, the nature of this case is all about politics. The arrest of Meng is part of a scheme by American politicians to curb China's high-tech rise," Fang Xingdong, founder of Beijing-based technology think tank ChinaLabs, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Fang said that Canada should carefully consider the outcome of the legal tussle involving Meng.


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