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Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou’s Lawyers Accuse Trump and Trudeau of Meddling

Lawyers for Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies, have applied to a Canadian court seeking stays in the proceedings for her extradition to the United States, documents released on Thursday showed. The applications are based in part on what Meng’s lawyers allege was a destruction of the integrity of the judicial process by United States President Donald Trump and other senior members of the administration by their intention to use Meng “as a bargaining chip in a trade dispute.”

Meng lawyers are calling for a Vancouver court to halt extradition proceedings against the Huawei executive, in legal submissions accusing US President Donald Trump of having “poisoned” the case for political purposes, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of complicity in using Meng as a “bargaining chip”.

Soon after Meng’s arrest, Trump told Reuters: “If I think it’s good for what will be certainly the largest trade deal ever made – which is a very important thing – what’s good for national security, I would certainly intervene if I thought it was necessary.” Meng’s lawyers alleged that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also politicized the extradition, by linking Meng’s potential release to two Canadians – businessman Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, a former diplomat – who were detained in China just days after her arrest and who were recently charged with suspected espionage.

“These proceedings have been poisoned. They can no longer be reasonably regarded as fair, regardless of the undoubted good faith of the court,” the Huawei CFO’s legal team said in the new court filing. While Mr. Trudeau has repeatedly said that the Canadian extradition process is judicial and not political, he revealed last December that he’d asked Mr. Trump to not cut a final trade deal with China until there was a resolution in the cases of Ms. Meng and the two Canadians.

“The clear implication of these comments is that the Prime Minister has communicated to the [United States] that he supports its use of [Ms. Meng’s] case as a bargaining chip in trade negotiations,” the Huawei CFO’s legal team says in the court filings. The court documents also claim Trudeau contributed to the politicization of the case in statements he made to a French language TV show in December 2019 with regard to former diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor.

“The Prime Minister’s statements reinforce how [Ms. Meng] is caught in a geopolitical battle, not the slightest bit dependent on the merits of her criminal case. Where the requesting state engages in conduct that offends our Canadian sense of fair play and decency, the court must intervene to safeguard the integrity of the judicial process. This is such a case,” Meng’s lawyers say in their new submissions.

Meng’s lawyers say that the United States misled Canada about the evidence in the case against her, by “selectively summariz(ing) information … and omit(ting) highly relevant information.” The omissions are “far below the expected standard of diligence, candour and accuracy,” the lawyers wrote.

In new court filings, Ms. Meng lawyers are challenging key elements of the U.S. case against her, flagging several instances where she alleges that the Americans are distorting the facts to suit their case. Meng lawyers are targeting documents submitted by U.S. prosecutors to describe the evidence supporting the American extradition request.

The United States “has improperly tailored” the record of the case against Ms. Meng “to support its theory of criminal liability,” the Huawei executive’s new court filings say. This includes selectively quoting evidence. Meng is the daughter of Ren Zhengfei, the founder of Chinese tech giant Huawei, the company at the center of next generation 5G wireless technology and a long-running dispute with the Trump administration.

Ms. Meng, who was arrested by RCMP on a U.S. extradition request in late 2018 while transiting through Vancouver International Airport, is free on bail in Vancouver. She has been living under house arrest since her release on $10 million bail in the week after her initial arrest. Meng faces a multitude of charges in the U.S., along with the Chinese telecommunications giant itself. In May, Ms. Meng lost her first legal bid to end the extradition process.

Canada’s arrest of Ms. Meng led to a rupture in relations with China that included imposing restrictions on farm goods trade. “In summary – on the facts not disclosed by the [United States]: No deception. No material omission. No conduct by [Ms. Meng] placing HSBC at risk. No fraud,” her legal team said in the latest court filings.

Sources: ReutersSCMPCBC, The Globe and Mail

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Chris Fernando

Chris N. Fernando is an experienced media professional with over two decades of journalistic experience. He is the Editor of Arabian Reseller magazine, the authoritative guide to the regional IT industry. Follow him on Twitter (@chris508) and Instagram (@chris2508).

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