Huawei CFO Meng Returns to Court as Canada-China Tensions Mount

Chinese flag to protest human rights abuses outside a British Columbia Supreme Court where Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou appeared for an extradition hearing in Vancouver

Chinese flag to protest human rights abuses outside a British Columbia Supreme Court where Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou appeared for an extradition hearing in Vancouver

Attorneys for Huawei's CFO previewed their arguments for halting USA efforts to extradite her from Canada, citing comments by President Donald Trump to support their view that the case is politically motivated.

The U.S. Department of Justice laid 13 criminal charges, including conspiracy, fraud and obstruction, against Huawei and Meng, who is the daughter of company founder Ren Zhengfei.

Justice Heather Holmes ruled on Wednesday that Crown prosecutors must defend the level of evidence that they have so far disclosed relating to Ms. Meng's initial detention by the Canada Border Services Agency on December 1 and subsequent arrest by the RCMP.

The submission cited "corrosive" comments made by Trump, who has said he would intervene in the case if it would help secure a trade deal with China.

Meng's appearance was initially meant to be brief but the defense spent several hours reprising their objections to her December arrest in Vancouver.

She stands accused of violating US trade sanctions against Iran by allegedly misrepresenting Huawei's ownership and control of a company doing business in the Middle Eastern country. "Her U.S. ordered arrest was unlawful abuse of process, one guided by political considerations and tactics, not by the rule of law", Howes said.

On Dec. 10, China detained Canadian nationals Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, and has accused them of working together to "steal state secrets".

He also said Canada should take China's staunch position seriously and immediately release Meng, letting her return to China safely.

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Howes said the allegations against Meng are untrue and said the business activities of Meng were conducted openly and transparently with the full knowledge of banking officials.

Meng's lawyers also secured approval in the hearing to modify her bail terms, allowing her to move from one of her multi-million-dollar properties in Vancouver to another, Bloomberg reported.

Meng defence lawyer Scott Fenton told the court that during Meng's three-hour detention at the airport in December, Meng's rights "were placed in total suspension".

He called the focus on sanctions a "complete red herring" and said the allegations against Meng centre on an alleged misrepresentation she made to a bank that put that bank's economic interests at risk, adding it's not yet time to make arguments in the case. China has repeatedly demanded Meng's release. Cole was the USA deputy attorney general from 2011 to 2015, a period which coincides with when the Justice Department was collecting evidence in the fraud and sanctions-related case.

"From the beginning, Huawei has expressed extreme confidence in Ms. Meng's innocence". She has denied the charges. China is also blocking imports of the agricultural product canola from Canada.

Huawei is also facing separate USA charges for allegedly stealing American technology, and in recent months has faced a United States campaign to blacklist it over espionage fears.

Meng has also filed a lawsuit against the Canadian government, alleging procedural errors by officers who arrested her. She will next appear in court on September 23, when her defence will make more applications for further disclosure surrounding her arrest at the airport. Just days after she was arrested, China imprisoned two Canadians.

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