Huawei CFO case finally reaches Canadian court tomorrow
Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou is due to appear in court tomorrow in Canada for the start of a long extradition trial.
Her appearance, from Wednesday for at least two weeks of hearings, comes more than two and a half years since she was arrested at Vancouver airport after flying in from Hong Kong on 1 December 2018.
US authorities want Meng (pictured), the daughter of Huawei’s founder, Ren Zhengfei, to be extradited to face charges of bank fraud, alleging she hid a relationship between Huawei and a Hong Kong-based trading company, Skycom, which shipped Huawei kit to Iran.
Meng denies all charges, and has tried to introduce evidence into the extradition case to show that UK-registered HSBC, Huawei’s bank, knew of the relationship with Skycom.
However last month the judge, Heather Holmes, decided the HSBC documents would not be admitted to the extradition hearing, as they were appropriate for any US trial.
If she were tried and found guilty in a US court, she could face up to 30 years in prison.
Meng’s team expects the case to go on for most of August and then that she will have to wait until November, or perhaps later, for a verdict from Holmes. It’s likely that, whatever the verdict, the losing side will seek to appeal, prolonging the case into 2022.
Having been denied the use of HSBC documents in her case, Meng is likely to rely on a PowerPoint presentation which, she says, she gave to HSBC in Hong Kong and that are clear about the relationship between Huawei and Skycom. Her lawyers are saying this amounts to abuse of process, as US authorities asserted that HSBC did not know.
They are also expected to say that she was not properly arrested in Vancouver back in December 2018 – not told that she was under arrest for a number of hours and not offered a lawyer.
They are also likely to contest that a US Federal Court – the Eastern District of New York – has no jurisdiction over a Chinese company, a Hong Kong company and a UK bank.