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Meng Wanzhou returns to the Court with Counsel Arguing the US manipulated the case for committal


After nearly three years since Meng was arrested in Vancouver airport, the case has now entered a crucial stage.

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On August 4, Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou returned to the British Columbia Supreme Court for a final round of hearings on the possible extradition to the United States, which are expected to last until August 21.

After nearly three years since Meng was arrested in Vancouver airport, the case has now entered a crucial stage. According to a media statement by Huawei Canada, over the next several weeks, counsel for Meng will argue that the United States manipulated the case for committal and the certified evidence before the Court; that the United States has both mischaracterized evidence and omitted other evidence in order to establish a case of fraud; and that its misconduct in certifying misleading evidence, coupled with its shifting theory of the case, has corroded the fairness of the Canadian legal proceedings.

“As the case enters its next phase, Huawei remains confident in Ms. Meng’s innocence. We will, as always, continue to support Ms. Meng’s pursuit of justice and freedom,” said Huawei Canada in the media statement.

Case Background

According to the record of the case (ROC) provided by the U.S.to the Canadian court, Meng was charged with fraud because of a PowerPoint presentation she made at the request of HSBC their director of global banking for the Asia Pacific region Alan Thomas, on August 22, 2013. And the ROC would be the basis on which the Canadian court will decide whether to extradite Meng to the US.

On 1 December 2018, more than five years after the meeting, Meng was arrested at Vancouver airport because the US wanted her to stand trial on charges including fraud.

According to the ROC, the key basis of the US’s allegation in this case is that HSBC, especially the bank’s senior management, had been unaware of Huawei’s relationship with Skycom and therefore could only assess the risks it was facing based on Meng’s PowerPoint presentation.

During Meng’s extradition hearing on June 29-30 2021, her legal team presented new evidence to reveal the misleading nature of US ROC, consisting of more than 300 pages of emails and internal HSBC bank documents.

The new evidence showed that the continuing nature of Skycom’s business with Huawei was not kept from senior HSBC executives; that internal HSBC risk-assessments were made based on knowledge of the true facts; and that any reputational risks were managed with the knowledge of senior HSBC executives.

According to Mark Sandler, lawyer of Meng, the new evidence consists of reliable, contemporaneous business records that show the records of case (ROC) presented by U.S. to the Canadian court are "so defective as to compel the court to place no reliance on them."

However, on July 9, the Canadian court ruled that it would not grant the introduction of the new documents in its entirety into the evidence of Meng’s extradition case.

As the defence team reemphasized, even though the court did not permit Meng to introduce additional evidence, it doesn’t mean the evidence doesn’t hold true. The new documents can prove clearly that two statements in the ROC, i.e. “HSBC executives were unaware of Huawei’s relationship with Skycom” and “HSBC relied on Meng Wanzhou’s PowerPoint presentation for decision-making”, are manifestly unreliable and have seriously misled the court.

The lawyer team further argues that the US selectively omitted key information on two slides of the PowerPoint presentation. The two slides clearly contain the information that Huawei controlled Skycom's operations in Iran. The ROC also omits other slides describing Huawei's compliance efforts in relation to Huawei's and Skycom's commerce in Iran.

Dr. Victor Meijers, Lecturer at Leiden University and civil-law notary in The Hague, wrote in a published article that “In the EU, a defense offered by seniors claiming to be unaware of knowledge in the possession of juniors, would be self-incriminating evidence on breaking the law on matters of governance and internal reporting.”

The Politicized Nature of the Case

Meng’s case has long been dragged into the politics of the U.S.-China trade war and technology competition. Just days after her arrest in 2018, US former President Donald Trump said he could intervene in the case if it helped secured a trade deal with China. In May 2019, Steve Bannon, a former senior Trump adviser, said, “Killing Huawei is 10 times more important than a trade deal with China.”

“There is gross political interference in this case by the United States. Ms. Meng was nothing less than a pun in trade negotiations between the United States and China,” said Richard Kurland, attorney at law in the provinces of British Columbia and Quebec, Canada, “The reason why Canada couldn't do anything earlier is because of president Trump."

The hearings will continue, and the counsel for Meng will argue that the United States has failed to establish a plausible case for prosecution because the record before the Court discloses no evidence upon which a reasonable trier of fact, properly instructed, could find Meng guilty of fraud. It follows that committal must be denied and Meng be allowed to return home.

Published : August 13, 2021