VANCOUVER, British Columbia (CN) — The judge tasked with deciding the extradition of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou to the United States handed the telecom executive a partial victory Thursday, finding an “air of reality” to her allegations of abuse of process by the U.S. in certifying the case against her.
British Columbia Supreme Court Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes’ ruling also denied the Attorney General of Canada’s application to dismiss allegations that “the requesting state deliberately withheld or misstated evidence in the” record of the case. Holmes found the record of the case, referred to in her ruling as the ROC, “has the potential to mislead, concerning the operation and effects of U.S. sanctions laws, because of the generality of some of the ROC’s statements on that topic, coupled with the complexity of the subject matter.”
She wrote: “The ROC offers a broad overview of U.S. sanctions laws as they relate to financial transactions, but it does not appear to relate the operation of those laws to the particular situations of Huawei and Skycom or to Ms. Meng’s alleged denial that Huawei controlled Skycom. As a result, the import of some of the broad and general statements for the alleged conduct and circumstances in this case is not clear to me at this stage.”
Holmes’ ruling came on the eve of the fifth day of hearings into another branch of Meng’s abuse of process allegations, where the court has heard from Canadian law enforcement officers involved in her initial detention at Vancouver airport and subsequent arrest.
The United States accuses Meng of defrauding HSBC during a PowerPoint presentation in Hong Kong in 2013, given to assuage the bank’s fears of violating U.S. sanctions on Iran by doing business in U.S. dollars with a Huawei affiliate known as Skycom. Court proceedings in her extradition fight are expected to continue well into 2021.
The week began with the testimony of Royal Canadian Mounted Police Constable Winston Yep, who told the court he didn’t think a three-hour delay in her arrest was “unreasonable” and disagreed with his superiors about how there were no “officer safety issues” surrounding her detention.
Meng’s lawyer Richard Peck suggested Yep was not being “honest” when he claimed officer and public safety issues factored into the decision not to arrest Meng on the plane immediately upon arrival at Vancouver Airport on Dec. 1, 2018.
On Tuesday, Yep acknowledged he didn’t do any open source or police database searches on the Chinese telecom executive prior to the arrest, and didn’t know she had two multimillion-dollar homes in Vancouver when he swore an affidavit to secure the arrest warrant. The affidavit included the statement that Meng had “no ties to Canada.”
Under questioning from Peck, Yep said he didn’t think to correct the affidavit once he learned of Meng’s real estate holdings. Peck asked Yep if “alarm bells” went off in his head once he realized the affidavit was inaccurate.
“If you knew she had ties to Canada, I assume you would’ve put that in your affidavit,” Peck said. “You swore every assertion in this affidavit to be true, did you not?”
Yep replied, “I did not prepare the affidavit, I reviewed the affidavit,’ Yep told the court Tuesday. “It was my error in not recognizing that.”
After Yep, Canada Border Services (CBSA) agent Scott Kirkland, who was involved in Meng’s initial detention, took the stand. He said it was “very common” that multiple officers would be involved in a secondary examination of an airline passenger transiting through Canada, telling the court that travelers at ports of entry have a low expectation of privacy.