Judge allows defense to argue US misled Canada in Huawei's Meng extradition

A Canadian judge ruled yesterday to allow Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou's lawyers to argue the U.S. misled Canada in its request for her extradition.

Huawei Technologies Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou leaves her home to attend a court hearing in Vancouver, British Columbia, October 26, 2020. (Photo from CGTN)

The ruling comes as a week-long witness testimony is underway in the British Columbia Supreme Court, in a different part of the same extradition case.

Meng is wanted in the United States on fraud charges related to violations of U.S. sanctions in Iran.

Her lawyers say the U.S. omitted key information in a case summary that undermined the allegations of fraud, adding her arrest and extradition are invalid.

British Columbia Supreme Court Justice Heather Holmes said in her ruling there "is an air of reality to Ms Meng's allegations of abuse of process in relation to the requesting state's conduct."

The case record provided by the U.S. includes slides from a PowerPoint presentation she gave in 2013. It was made to an HSBC executive after the British banking group, worried over potential Iran exposure, requested an explanation.

The U.S. accuses Meng of hiding Huawei's relationship with former subsidiary Skycom in Iran from HSBC bank.

Meng insists she was upfront with HSBC, which her lawyers say was left out in the U.S. warrant and the missing slides will show.

Canada sought to block this evidence, saying it was "not relevant to the extradition hearing" and risked turning a simple extradition proceeding into a "U.S. trial."

But Holmes ruled, "Some of that evidence is realistically capable of challenging the reliability of the (record of the case) on issues relevant in the hearing."

Meng, 48, was arrested at Vancouver International Airport in December 2018 while on a layover bound for Mexico. Meng has said she is innocent and is fighting the charges from Vancouver, where she is under house arrest.

The case is scheduled to continue until April 2021.