The judge declined to dismiss the extradition case but questioned the reliability of some of the evidence provided by the US authorities
Back in December 2018, Meng Wanzhou, daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, was arrested in Canada at the behest of US authorities, who primarily accused her of fraud via lying to HSBC about Huawei’s dealings with Iran’s Skycom, thus causing the bank to inadvertently break the sanctions placed on Iran. Since her arrest, Meng has remained under house arrest in Canada, with the US seeking her extradition.
Meng, however, argues that the arrest was unlawful, arguing both that Canadian authorities violated her rights during the arrest itself and that the US government’s claims are unfounded.
Now, Canadian associate chief justice Heather Holmes has ruled against Meng’s appeal to dismiss the extradition case, but has agreed that there was an “air of reality” to Meng’s claims that the US was misrepresenting the evidence against her.
Key evidence against Meng is reportedly a PowerPoint presentation she gave to HSBC back in 2013, which the US team claims misled HSBC regarding Huawei’s relationship with Iran’s Skycom. However, when presented as evidence by the US, certain omissions and misrepresentations were present.
For example, the phrase ‘Huawei engagement with Skycom is normal and controllable business cooperation, and this will not change in the future’, which was present in the original PowerPoint, had been reduced to ‘Huawei’s engagement with Skycom is normal business cooperation’ when presented as evidence.
As a result, the judge has now ruled that Meng’s lawyers may pursue the line of argument that evidence is being misrepresented, granting them the power to introduce a limited amount of fresh evidence to the case.
The judge noted that while Meng’s arguments of misrepresentation were not currently enough to warrant the extradition cases dismissal, they could do so in future when combined with the various allegations of misconduct also being claimed.
The extradition case itself is expected to close in April 2021, but the introduction of additional complications could in fact see it roll on for many months, if not years.
Huawei are holding up this ruling as a significant victory, having long argued that the case was politically driven by the geopolitical rift between the US and China.
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