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Huawei lawyer alleges delay in CFO arrest was intentional in U.S. extradition case

Credit: REUTERS/JENNIFER GAUTHIER

A lawyer for Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou on Wednesday questioned the Canadian constable involved in her 2018 arrest, asking if the process was delayed in an initial bid to suppress her legal rights.

By Moira Warburton

Oct 28 (Reuters) - A lawyer for Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou on Wednesday questioned the Canadian constable involved in her 2018 arrest, asking if the process was delayed in an initial bid to suppress her legal rights.

Defence attorney Richard Peck wrapped up two days of cross-examination of Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Constable Winston Yep, needling him on the intentions behind Meng's initial detainment by Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officials and then her arrest by the RCMP.

Peck alleged that the order of events was to take advantage of the extended leeway CBSA officers have in questioning and investigating individuals crossing into Canada.

The decision to "delay in the arrest of Ms Meng" was "based on delaying her Charter rights," Peck said, referring to Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms which outline the civil rights of anyone in Canada, citizen or otherwise.

"No, that was not intentional," Yep replied, adding that he did not believe the three hour delay between Meng's detention by CBSA officers and her arrest by RCMP officers was "unreasonable."

Court documents show Meng was questioned by CBSA for nearly three hours without any legal representation, in what her lawyers have called a violation of her rights before the RCMP arrested her.

From the moment Meng was detained by CBSA, "she was effectively in the joint custody of you and the CBSA," Peck said to Yep.

"No, she was in the custody of the CBSA," Yep said. "I don’t agree with that."

Meng, 48, was arrested at Vancouver International Airport in December 2018 while on a layover bound for Mexico. The United States charged her with bank fraud for allegedly misleading HSBC HSBA.L about Huawei Technologies Co Ltd.'s HWT.UL business dealings in Iran, causing the bank to break U.S. sanctions.

She has said she is innocent and is fighting the charges from Vancouver, where she is under house arrest in her home in Shaughnessy, one of Vancouver's wealthiest neighbourhoods.

Meng's arrest triggered an ongoing chill in diplomatic relations between Ottawa and Beijing. Soon after her detention, China arrested Canadian citizens Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig on espionage charges.

The witness testimony, expected to last five days in total, is focusing on the second of three branches of abuses of process that Meng's lawyers claim took place, specifically during her arrest.

Meng's case is scheduled to wrap up in April 2021, although the potential for appeals mean the case could drag on for years.

(Reporting by Moira Warburton in Toronto; Editing by Denny Thomas and Tom Brown)

((Moira.Warburton@thomsonreuters.com; 416-687-7996; 437-771-3124;))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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