Prosecutors in Huawei CFO’s Extradition Case Deny ‘Nefarious’ Coverup Conspiracy

Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou arrives at a parole office with a security guard in Vancouver, British Columbia, Dec. 12, 2018. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)

(CN) — Canadian prosecutors in Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou’s extradition case Friday denied the existence of a coverup or conspiracy that violated her constitutional rights in the leadup and aftermath of her arrest in Vancouver in December 2018.

Wrapping up week two of three in abuse of process arguments in the tech executive’s U.S. extradition bid, prosecutors defended Canadian police and border guards’ actions on the day of her arrest. In B.C. Supreme Court Friday, they urged Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes to believe testimony heard last year about the planning and execution of her examination by Canada Border Services agents before she was handed over to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Prosecutor John Gibb-Carsley outlined how the collection of passcodes and serial number information on several of Meng’s electronic devices, including an iPhone, iPad and Mac laptop, didn’t amount to an abusive or improper seizure, saying authorities were well within their rights since they were taken “incidental” to her arrest.

Moreover, he said an affidavit sworn to secure the arrest warrant wasn’t misleading to the issuing judge, even though it stated Meng had “no ties to Canada” when she owned two multi-million dollar homes in Vancouver. Gibb-Carsley revealed that even if the RCMP officer tasked with swearing the document had done a title search, it wouldn’t have shown Meng’s ownership of the properties since they were in her husband’s name.

Police officers in such cases, he said, are “relying on information provided by the requesting state,” and any omissions found in the documents weren’t “material facts” that would’ve caused a judge to refuse the warrant.

Marta Zemojtel, another prosecutor with the Attorney General of Canada’s team, then took the court through submissions on RCMP and CBSA notetaking practices, a frequent sticking-point for Meng’s lawyers. Zemojtel told the court that there was no evidence that officers tailored their notes to fit a narrative to “conceal” misconduct or “rewrite history.” Rather, she said, the absence of notes on a now-infamous meeting between the RCMP and border guards on the day of Meng’s arrest didn’t indicate nefarious collusion or a conspiracy. She said a direction to stop creating records by senior officials was a “misunderstanding.”

“There is no evidence of the CBSA at any level sought to recast the evidence relating to the applicant’s examination or conceal facts about their conduct during and after,” she said, adding that no evidence was lost or improperly destroyed.

“The RCMP and CBSA are not obliged to disclose what does not exist,” Zemojtel said.  “Contrary to the applicant’s claim, in my respectful submission, there is no indication that the events alleged by her – a coverup, a covert plan, or a conspiracy – transpired. ”

Prosecutor Robert Frater then summarized the prosecution’s case for Holmes, telling her that even if she found that Meng’s constitutional rights against unreasonable search and seizure were violated when they took her phones, that wouldn’t be enough to toss the case out.

“While the RCMP had the two things at the same time, the passcodes and the phones, that would allow them to breach Ms. Meng’s privacy, they never did it and that is the unique feature of our case,” Frater said. “There was no search at the end of the day even though they had the means to do the search, they didn’t do it.”

He said such a breach would normally result in the exclusion of evidence, and that other than in an “extreme case,” he told Holmes that she would “hard-pressed” to find a case where such a breach occurred that would lead to a stay of proceedings.

“There is no prejudice here, much less prejudice that will be manifested, perpetuated or aggravated by the continuation of these proceedings,” Frater said. “This motion must fail on its facts.”

Hearings into another branch of Meng’s abuse of process claims are set to continue Monday throughout next week. Meng faces potential extradition to the U.S. to face fraud charges related to a presentation she gave to an HSBC executive in 2013 where she’s alleged to have misrepresented a Huawei subsidiary’s dealing in Iran which allegedly violated U.S. sanctions.

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