Lawyers for Meng Wanzhou have submitted new evidence to a Canadian court suggesting that US prosecutors have mislead Canada about the case, Xinhua reports, citing new court filings.
Meng, Huawei’s chief financial officer, was arrested at Vancouver International Airport in December 2018 on a US warrant and is currently fighting extradition to the United States.
She is accused of lying to the bank HSBC about the nature of Huawei’s relationship with its Hong Kong affiliate Skycom. According to US prosecutors, Huawei used Skycom as a shell company to do business with Iranian telecommunications companies, in violation of sanctions the US had in place against Iran at the time.
Huawei and Meng, who is the daughter of the company’s founder, deny any wrongdoing and insist that Skycom was a separate business partner in Iran.
Meng’s charges are based on a 17-slide PowerPoint presentation she gave to a senior HSBC employee in August 2013, which describes the links between Huawei and Skycom as “normal business cooperation”.
According to Xinhua, Meng’s defence argues in a new filing that the US had intentionally omitted crucial parts of that presentation. These include her statements about “cooperative relationship with Skycom in Iran” and the “regulatory compliance measures Huawei was taking so as not to violate the US relevant export controls”.
The new disclosure says that Meng admitted during the presentation that Huawei had once held shares in Skycom and she was a director of the Hong Kong firm. By the time of the meeting, however, Huawei had sold all its shares and Meng stepped down as Skycom director, her lawyers claim.
Expert testimony included in this new filing also claimed, according to the report, that HSBC “only needed to understand that Huawei and Skycom had business cooperation in Iran to assess its own compliance risks” and didn’t need to be informed about their relationship in this case.
Meng’s defence team maintains that by not disclosing this information in their submissions to Canadian court, US prosecutors have been “seriously misleading” Canada about the case.
Meng’s lawyers on Thursday also accused President Donald Trump of using the Huawei executive as a “bargaining chip” in his trade war with China.
The US president has cracked down on Huawei and other Chinese tech firms in recent years, citing allegations of espionage and intellectual property theft which Huawei strongly denies. The United States has also pushed its allies to cut Huawei out of their burgeoning next-generation wireless networks, banned the telecoms giant from doing business with American firms, and sought to choke off its supplies of vital microchips.
China’s Foreign Ministry has repeatedly urged Canada to release Meng and ensure her safe return to China. Her extradition case, originally scheduled to wrap up this October, has been stretched until April 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.