Huawei CFO lawyers say her alleged crimes no crime in Canada

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Defense lawyers argue a senior executive of the Chinese tech giant Huawei should not be extradited to the United States (US) because her actions would not be considered crimes under Canadian law.

The extradition hearing for Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou is scheduled to begin tomorrow. Meng, the daughter of the company’s founder, faces charges of committing fraud to try and evade US sanctions on Iran. Huawei is China’s first global tech brand and Beijing views her case as a political move designed to prevent China’s rise.

“This is a case of US sanctions enforcement masquerading as Canadian fraud,” said defence documents released on Friday.

Meng was arrested at the Vancouver airport in late 2018 at the request of the US government. American prosecutors allege she made misrepresentations to foreign banks, including London-based HSBC, about Huawei’s relationship with its Iran-based affiliate Skycom.

Last week, the Canadian Department of Justice released documents supporting its case the allegations against Meng meet the extradition test of “double criminality” meaning if they had occurred Canada, they would be criminal under Canadian law.

Defence lawyers dispute that claim, arguing it’s not illegal in Canada to do business with Iran.

“Canada not only permits banks to do business with Iran-based entities, it encourages them to do to,” the documents said.

The documents pointed out the prosecution has argued Meng’s action have caused HSBC to be placed at risk of financial prejudice for offering banking service to Huawei and Skycom because of US sanctions.

“Simply put, a bank in Canada would not be concerned that Huawei’s relationship with Skycom could trigger sanctions risk,” the documents said.

Meng made a brief court appearance on Friday where lawyers discussed additional court dates. The first stage of the extradition hearing dealing is expected to last five days.

Meng is free on bail and is living in one of the two Vancouver mansions she owns.

Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou leaves the Supreme Court following a case management hearing in Vancouver, British Columbia. PHOTO: AP