Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou is raising a new argument in a Canadian court as she has stepped up efforts to fight extradition to the United States on financial fraud charges, according to British Columbia court documents released on Monday.
Meng's lawyers insisted that the case the United States launched in Canada is "so replete with intentional and reckless error" that it violates her rights.
“Ms Meng will submit that the Requesting State’s summary of evidence … is grossly inaccurate and based on deliberate and/or reckless misstatements of fact and material omissions, thereby constituting a serious abuse of the extradition process that should disentitle the Requesting State to proceed", her lawyers said in a memo.
Meng, billionaire Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei’s daughter, was detained in Vancouver on 1 December 2018, at the request of the United States, and has since been charged with bank fraud and accused of misinforming HSBC Holdings Plc about Huawei's business in Iran. The move sent Sino-American and Sino-Canadian tensions soaring, while Meng insisted her innocence.
The key evidence against her is cited to be a PowerPoint presentation from 2013 to an HSBC banker in Hong Kong, in which she said that Skycom Tech Co Ltd - a firm that operated in Iran - was "a business partner of Huawei", while the United States has labelled it as an unofficial subsidiary.
In response to the case, Meng’s lawyers insisted that the prosecutors had omitted key parts of Meng’s presentation on ongoing business operations in Iran and, in particular, that Skycom collaborated with Huawei in sales and service in Iran - something HSBC could hardly be unaware of, given that Huawei was one of HSBC's major clients. Without these provisions, the American prosecutors’ summary was incomplete, and "materially misleading", the lawyers noted.
They went on to suggest that a $900 million loan that the United States claims HSBC had offered to Huawei did not exist, insisting though that instead, Huawei was in a $1.6 billion credit arrangement with 26 banks, with HSBC's total contribution limited to $80 million.
As per the lawyers, the credit facility was never used by Huawei and was cancelled in June 2017.
Assistant Chief Justice Heather Holmes of the British Columbia Supreme Court said in a conference on Monday that she wanted to be kept fully updated on the US case before addressing Meng's complaints about her rights having been violated during the arrest.
A spokesman for US prosecutors as well as a spokeswoman for the Canadian Justice Minister declined to comment on the extradition case, which a Canadian judge gave a green light to late last month, in defiance of defence arguments that the US charges targeting Meng were not deemed as criminal in Canada.
A memo recently obtained by her lawyers suggests that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) had foreknowledge of plans to detain Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, and recognised the plan as political.
Chinese officials have long accused Ottawa of “political persecution” and toeing the line of Canada’s powerful southern neighbour, as the two-page document, created hours before Meng was detained at Vancouver International Airport on 1 December 2018 en route to Argentina, confirmed that Canadian intelligence had been greenlit by the US on FBI plans to arrest the top Huawei official.