By Moira Warburton
VANCOUVER (Reuters) – Canadian prosecutors are set to present their argument on Tuesday after Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou’s lawyers sought to add a new charge in their effort to stop her extradition to the United States.
The second day of hearing is the latest in a series of Meng’s extradition case taking place in British Columbia Supreme Court. On Monday, Meng’s lawyers argued to add an additional allegation in the abuse of power by Canadian and U.S. authorities during her arrest.
Meng, 48, was arrested in December 2018 on a warrant from the United States charging her with bank fraud for misleading HSBC (L:) about Huawei’s business dealings in Iran and causing the bank to break U.S. sanction law.
The daughter of billionaire Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, Meng has said she is innocent and is fighting extradition from her house arrest in Vancouver.
The hearings – which are expected to last until Wednesday – are referred to as Vukelich hearings, meaning the judge must decide whether the defence’s latest allegation is plausible enough to be worth fully litigating.
If the judge rules in Meng’s favour, an additional set of hearings will be added to argue the allegation.
Scott Fenton, a lawyer for Meng, argued on Monday that the United States “misdescribed the facts to construct a stronger case of alleged fraud” when it requested that Canada arrest Meng on its behalf in December 2018.
Meng is relying on a PowerPoint presentation she gave to HSBC about Huawei’s business dealings in Iran. The United States has used part of the presentation to prove that she misled the bank, but Meng and her lawyers argue otherwise.
The arrest has strained China’s relations with the United States and Canada. Soon after Meng’s detention, China arrested Canadian citizens Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, charging them with espionage.
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