Defence alleges ‘pre-planned’ abuse in Canada arrest of Huawei exec

Meng was arrested during a December 2018 stopover in Vancouver. (AP pic)

VANCOUVER: Lawyers for Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou on Monday accused Canadian police and border agents, in collusion with the FBI, of abuse of process in her arrest on a US warrant.

At a British Columbia Supreme Court hearing to set the timetable for extradition hearings, defence lawyer David Martin argued that Canadian officials purposely delayed her arrest by several hours during a December 2018 stopover in Vancouver in order to gather evidence for the FBI.

In court filings, the defence said this “pre-planned scheme” allowed authorities to snoop through her electronic devices under the pretence of a customs inspection.

The court heard previously that the FBI had asked for Meng’s devices to be stored in “signal-blocking” bags, which the Canada Border Services Agency did.

The FBI also asked for electronic serial numbers and images of Meng’s devices.

The daughter of the billionaire founder of Chinese telecom giant Huawei Ren Zhengfei is wanted in the US for fraud linked to Iran sanctions.

Martin called the US extradition request “an extravagant extraterritorial jurisdictional reach”.

He pointed to a Canadian Security Intelligence Service memo outlining that the FBI would not be present at Meng’s arrest “in order to avoid the perception of influence” as proof that CSIS was “conscious of obscuring the involvement of the FBI”.

The heavily-redacted memo was released by a federal court on Friday.

In it, CSIS warned that Meng’s arrest would be “highly political” and likely to “send shock waves around the world”.

It would also certainly become “a significant bilateral issue” for Canada and China, it said.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a daily briefing the memo “shows once again that the whole Meng Wanzhou case is a serious political incident”.

“It speaks volumes about the US political calculations to purposefully suppress Huawei and other Chinese high-tech companies,” Zhao said, adding that Canada had acted as an “accomplice”.

“We once again urge Canada to take China’s solemn position and concerns seriously, immediately release Meng and ensure her safe return to China, and not to go further down the wrong path,” he said.