Huawei CFO Meng arrives in Canada court for latest round in U.S. extradition case

VANCOUVER (Reuters) – Huawei Technologies Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou and her legal team arrived on Tuesday at a Canadian court, where her lawyers are expected to wrap up their argument seeking to add a new charge in their effort to stop her extradition to the United States.

FILE PHOTO: Huawei Technologies Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou returns, following a lunch break, to a court hearing in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada September 28, 2020. REUTERS/Jennifer Gauthier

The defence will finish their arguments on Tuesday morning, before handing the floor over to prosecutors representing the Canadian government.

Meng arrived at the British Columbia Supreme Court, wearing a plum purple dress with her hair down and sat in a booth next to her translator. The hearings are the latest in her extradition case, which is expected to run until April 2021.

On Monday, Meng’s lawyers argued for the addition of another allegation in the abuse of power by Canadian and U.S. authorities during her arrest.

Meng, 48, was arrested in December 2018 on a warrant from the United States charging her with bank fraud for misleading HSBC HSBA.L about Huawei’s business dealings in Iran and causing the bank to break U.S. sanctions law.

The daughter of billionaire Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, Meng has said she is innocent and is fighting extradition from her house arrest in Vancouver.

The hearings – which are scheduled for five days but could wrap up by Wednesday – are referred to as Vukelich hearings, meaning the judge must decide whether the defence’s latest allegation is plausible enough to be worth fully litigating.

If the judge rules in Meng’s favour, an additional set of hearings will be added to argue the allegation.

Scott Fenton, a lawyer for Meng, argued on Monday that the United States “misdescribed the facts to construct a stronger case of alleged fraud” when it requested that Canada arrest Meng on its behalf in December 2018.

Meng is relying on a PowerPoint presentation she gave to HSBC about Huawei’s business dealings in Iran. The United States has used part of the presentation to prove that she misled the bank, but Meng and her lawyers argue otherwise.

The arrest has strained China’s relations with the United States and Canada. Soon after Meng’s detention, China arrested Canadian citizens Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, charging them with espionage.

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