Canadian judge questions arguments for extradition of Huawei CFO as hearings enter final days

Band Moira Warburton

VANCOUVER, August 12 (Reuters)A Canadian judge on Thursday appeared skeptical of the arguments advanced by prosecutors, questioning the validity of the case in the United States against Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, who faces possible extradition for several counts. charge.

Remand hearings in the Meng case are expected to end next week, as two years of legal wrangling draws to a close.

The case of the Canadian government, as set out in the file provided by the United States to justify his arrest and extradition, is that Meng lied to HSBC about Huawei’s ownership of an Iran-based subsidiary. called Skycom, which prompted the bank to engage in fraud and unknowingly violated US sanctions.

Meng’s defense attorneys argued that HSBC had not been misled and was in fact fully aware that Skycom – a company that Reuters said was breaking US Iran sanctions laws – was a subsidiary of Huawei, rather than a local partner as previously indicated.

Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes has at times appeared skeptical about the validity of the United States’ claim.

“Isn’t it unusual to see a case of fraud without actual harm, many years later, and in which the alleged victim – a large institution – appears to have many people within the institution who had all the facts that are now would have been distorted? ” Holmes asked.

“The law is pretty clear on this,” responded Canadian prosecutor Robert Frater. “You yourself said that people within the institution can know, they can even be participants. That doesn’t mean there is no fraud.”

Holmes then said: “I am simply suggesting that it may be unusual to have these two characteristics – no real loss, and arguably, a fairly extensive knowledge within the institution about the real situation.”

Frater said it was a problem for sentencing.

Meng was arrested at Vancouver International Airport in December 2018 on a US warrant, for allegedly misleading HSBC bank about Huawei’s business dealings in Iran and potentially causing it to violate US economic sanctions against Tehran.

She has claimed her innocence and is fighting against extradition. His lawyers will begin making their final arguments in his favor on Friday and are expected to finish next week.

Hearings are expected to end next week and Holmes will likely issue an order on whether or not to extradite in the fall, before Canadian Justice Minister David Lametti makes the final appeal.

Holmes and Lametti’s decisions are subject to appeal, which legal experts say means the case could go on for years.

(Reporting by Moira Warburton in Vancouver, editing by Grant McCool)

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