Extradition fight: Huawei CFO accuses Canada of improper conduct

'She was not told she was the subject of an arrest warrant,' Meng's lawyers argued in a Vancouver court on Tuesday.

    Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou (right) was detained at Vancouver's airport on December 1 at the request of the United States [File: Lindsey Wasson/Reuters]
    Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou (right) was detained at Vancouver's airport on December 1 at the request of the United States [File: Lindsey Wasson/Reuters]

    Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou returned to a Vancouver court on Tuesday as her lawyers argued that Canada abused its immigration processes to gather evidence against her - a claim the government says is without an "air of reality".

    Meng, 47, was detained at Vancouver's airport on December 1 at the request of the United States. She was charged with bank fraud and accused of misleading HSBC Holdings Plc about Huawei Technologies Co Ltd's business in Iran. She has said she is innocent, and is fighting extradition.

    At Tuesday's hearing before Justice Heather Holmes in British Columbia Supreme Court, Meng's lawyers pressed for more disclosure from the Canadian government.

    Lawyer Richard Peck, who represents Meng, told the judge no one answered the Huawei executive when she repeatedly asked border officials why she was being detained. "She was not told she was the subject of an arrest warrant," Peck said. "She was not told this was a warrant that came out of the US that had to do with activities some years ago."

    Meng sat in the well of the courtroom wearing a short black dress with glittering sequins around the neckline and sleeves, and an electronic monitoring device strapped to her left ankle.

    The three-day hearing is scheduled to end on Wednesday and expected to resume September 30.

    Meng was searched and questioned by border officers when she landed in Vancouver after a flight from Hong Kong. She was not arrested on a provisional warrant and told her rights until about three hours after her arrival.

    At Tuesday's hearing, Meng's lawyers played a soundless video clip of Meng being detained at the airport.     

    'Fishing expedition'

    In a filing submitted on Monday, Meng's lawyers said they want to know why Canadian police allowed the lengthy border examination, and why the US Federal Bureau of Investigation wanted contact information for officers on the day she arrived.

    In another submission released on Monday, the attorney general of Canada said there was no evidence border officials or police acted improperly, or that the conduct of Canadian or foreign officials compromised the fairness of the extradition proceedings.

    The defence claims that if the process was abused, this justifies halting extradition proceedings. Besides accusations of misconduct related to Meng's detention, they argue the US is using her for economic and political gain, noting that after her arrest, US President Donald Trump said he would intervene if it would help close a trade deal.

    The government claims there is no justification for halting extradition proceedings. In its filing, it called the defence's effort for more disclosure a "fishing expedition".

    Meng's arrest has strained China's relations with both the US and Canada. In Beijing, China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterated the government's call for Meng to be released and allowed to return to China.

    Meng, the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, spent 10 days in jail in December but was then released on bail of 10 million Canadian dollars ($7.5m). She is living in one of her two multimillion-dollar homes in Vancouver.

    Huawei, the world's largest telecommunications equipment maker, has been accused by the US of activities contrary to national security and foreign policy interests. It is also a defendant in the US case against Meng. Huawei denies the charges.

    SOURCE: Reuters news agency