Canadian extradition judge deals Huawei CFO legal blow

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA (AP) – A senior executive for Chinese communications giant Huawei Technologies has been denied access to most of the documents her lawyers hoped to use to help prevent her extradition to the United States (US).

Canada arrested Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of Huawei’s founder and the company’s chief financial officer, at Vancouver’s airport in late 2018. The US wants her extradited to face fraud charges. Her arrest infuriated Beijing.

The US accuses Huawei of using a Hong Kong shell company called Skycom to sell equipment to Iran in violation of US sanctions. It said Meng, 48, committed fraud by misleading the HSBC bank about the company’s business dealings in Iran.

During a hearing last month, Meng’s lawyers argued the redacted information in about 40 documents could help their claim she was unlawfully detained, searched or interrogated as part of a plan between Canadian and American authorities to have Canada Border Services Agency officers misuse their powers to covertly collect evidence for the FBI.

Lawyers for the Canadian government argued the documents were protected by solicitor-client privilege.

In a decision released on Friday, Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes upheld privilege claims asserted by the Attorney General except for a single email.

The Canadian Department of Justice said in a statement that solicitor-client and litigation privilege are fundamental principles that protect the ability of individuals, corporations and governments to seek legal advice confidentially.

Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver. PHOTO: AP