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Canada judge mulls evidence claim in Huawei exec case

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Oct 01, 2020 - 09:44 AM

VANCOUVER, CANADA — A Canadian judge on Wednesday adjourned Chinese Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou’s extradition hearing to consider the defendant’s claims that key evidence had been omitted.

During three days of hearings, Meng’s lawyers argued that a PowerPoint slideshow she gave in 2013 should be included in the case record, accusing the US of having omitted parts of the presentation that could prove to be critical in the case.

Her attorneys also asked for expert witnesses to be allowed to testify on Meng’s behalf.

Government lawyers opposed the motions, calling the proposed testimony and the missing slides irrelevant to the British Columbia Supreme Court’s deliberations on whether to send Meng to the United States to face fraud charges linked violations of US sanctions against Iran.

Meng is accused of hiding Huawei’s relationship with former subsidiary Skycom in Iran from HSBC bank.

Her 2013 PowerPoint presentation to an HSBC executive was made after the British banking group, worried over potential Iran exposure, requested an explanation.

Meng insists she was upfront with HSBC and its executive, including explaining how processing any related transactions through the US banking system could put HSBC in jeopardy — a fact that her lawyers say was left out in the US warrant and the missing slides will show.

The 48-year-old Huawei chief financial officer was arrested on a US warrant in December 2018 during a stopover in Vancouver and has been fighting extradition ever since.

The case has added to severe strain in US-China relations and created an unprecedented rift between Ottawa and Beijing.

Government lawyer Robert Frater on Tuesday argued that such evidence may be relevant at trial, but in extradition hearings the evidentiary bar is much lower.

According to a scheduling document filed jointly by Meng and the Canadian government, a decision on the defense requests could come by the end of October.

The extradition hearing is meanwhile scheduled to resume on October 26.

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