Huawei CFO wins Canada court fight over arrest-related documents

December 11, 2019 09:34
Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou alleged that Canadian authorities improperly handled identifying information about Meng’s electronic devices. Photo: Reuters

Lawyers for Huawei’s chief financial officer have won a court battle after a judge asked Canada’s attorney general to hand over more evidence and documents relating to the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, Reuters reports, citing a court ruling.

Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes of the Supreme Court of British Columbia agreed with Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.’s legal team that there is an “air of reality” to their assertion.

But she cautioned that her ruling is limited and does not address the merit of Huawei’s allegations that Canadian authorities improperly handled identifying information about Meng’s electronic devices.

Meng, 47, was arrested at the Vancouver International Airport on Dec. 1, 2018, at the request of the United States, where she is charged with bank fraud and accused of misleading the bank HSBC about Huawei’s business in Iran. She has said she is innocent and is fighting extradition.

She was questioned by Canadian immigration authorities prior to her arrest, and her lawyers have asked the government to hand over more documents about her arrest.

Meng’s legal team has contested her extradition in the Canadian courts on the grounds that the US is using her extradition for economic and political gain, and that she was unlawfully detained, searched and interrogated by Canadian authorities acting on behalf of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

In her ruling released on Tuesday, Holmes wrote that she found the evidence tendered by the attorney general to have “notable gaps”, citing the example of why the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) “made what is described as the simple error of turning over to the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police), contrary to law, the passcodes CBSA officers had required Ms. Meng to produce”.

Holmes also said the attorney general did not provide adequate evidence to “rebut inferences from other evidence that the RCMP improperly sent serial numbers and other identifiers of Ms. Meng’s devices to the FBI”.

Holmes said these gaps in evidence raise questions “beyond the frivolous or speculative about the chain of events” and led her to conclude that Meng’s application “crosses the air of reality threshold”.

The order does not require the disclosure of documents – the attorney general may assert a privilege, which Meng could contest in court.

Meng’s extradition hearing will begin on Jan. 20, 2020, in a federal court in Vancouver.

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