Lawyers In Huawei Extradition Case Argue Against US ‘Power Grab’

Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou. Image credit: Huawei

Extradition hearings for Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou enter final weeks as her lawyers argue against US imposing ‘limitless jurisdiction’

A block of hearings in the bid of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou to stop her extradition from Canada to the United States have concluded with a prosecutor arguing Meng’s lawyers had presented an “impoverished” interpretation of the facts.

Meng, 49, was arrested in Vancouver International Airport in December 2018 on a US warrant for bank fraud.

She is accused of misleading HSBC about Huawei’s business arrangements in Iran, putting the London-based bank at risk of violating US sanctions.

Meng maintains her innocence and is fighting the charges while under house arrest in Vancouver.

Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou. Image credit: Huawei
Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou. Image credit: Huawei

‘Limitless jurisdiction’

Her team has already presented arguments before the British Columbia Supreme Court that rights violations and political interference by the previous US administration should invalidate the extradition claims and allow Meng to return to China.

Earlier this week Meng’s lawyers argued that the US indictment itself violates international law because the case presents an allegedly tenuous connection to the United States.

Meng is a Chinese citizen and HSBC is a British bank, and the US’ case revolves around a meeting that took place in Hong Kong, lawyer Gib van Ert argued.

The only connection to the US is the process of clearing transactions in US dollars, which transactions between two entities may pass through a US bank, van Ert said.

Accepting such charges is “tantamount to accepting a limitless US jurisdiction”, he said, calling the charges a “plain power grab”.

He added that it was up to the court, and not Canada’s minister of foreign affairs, to make rulings on whether the indictment is in contravention of international law.

Final allegations

Canadian prosecutor Robert Frater rejected that argument, saying it was not the court’s decision to make.

Frater also argued that the meeting in Hong Kong was “not about risks in Hong Kong”, but about “risks primarily in the United States”.

Meng’s legal team is expected to present one more set of arguments against the extradition, focusing on allegations of misrepresentations in the record of the case, from 26 April to 14 May.

Associate chief justice Heather Holmes will then retire to consider whether to free Meng or to approve extradition and send the final decision to the justice minister.

However, appeals in the case could stretch on for years.