The Huawei executive’s lawyers say the documents contain a bombshell. But the world will have to wait until early August to find out how it blows up the extradition case.
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (CN) — Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou won a bid to delay extradition hearings for three months after her lawyers said they need extra time to review a cache of documents handed over by HSBC Bank in Hong Kong this month that will turn the case “on its head.”
In B.C. Supreme Court Wednesday afternoon, Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes told defense counsel and prosecutors, who joined the hearing by phone, that she decided to grant the application to adjourn the case until “on or around” Aug. 3. She did not make the reasons for her decision available in writing or offer them during the hearing.
The hearings were set to resume April 26 for several weeks, but Meng’s lawyers told the court Monday they need time to review a “substantial amount of documentation” released to Huawei by HSBC under a consent order from the High Court of Hong Kong on April 12.
The Attorney General of Canada opposed the adjournment, claiming it was an attempt to circumvent Canadian and U.S. law and wrongfully turn the extradition hearing into a trial. Prosecutors decried delaying the case for several months after both sides spent “countless hours” fashioning a schedule, noting the bid to delay the case was made “days before reaching the finishing line.”
The delay comes more than two years after Meng’s arrest at Vancouver airport in December 2018 on a provisional arrest warrant at the request of the United States, which has indicted Meng on fraud charges related to a 2013 meeting in Hong Kong between her and an unnamed HSBC executive. U.S. prosecutors accuse Meng of giving a misleading PowerPoint presentation to the banker to allay HSBC’s fears of running afoul of U.S. sanctions on Iran by doing business with a Huawei subsidiary known as Skycom. Reuters had reported Skycom was involved in sanctions-violating activities related to telecom equipment sales in Iran.
Meng denies the charges and has been fighting extradition. In a separate action, she has accused Canadian authorities of violating her civil rights in the course of the arrest.
Holmes noted the weeks of court time scheduled for the committal hearings originally set for April 26 would be “snapped up quickly” and told Meng’s lawyers that any additional applications arising from the HSBC document dump would have to come before the August hearings.
A case management conference remains set for April 28.