On Monday, September 23, Huawei CFO and daughter of company founder Ren Zhengfei, Meng Wanzhou, arrived at the British Columbia Supreme Court to begin an eight-day hearing after her arrest by Canadian border patrol at the request of the FBI.
Meng’s lawyers have alleged that by arresting Meng, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) have essentially engaged in a “fishing expedition,” using the arrest as an opportunity to interrogate the Huawei executive. One of Meng’s lawyers, Richard Peck, alleged that the CBSA withheld evidence of cooperation with the FBI and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), in an effort to conceal the true purpose of the arrest, which was to collect evidence for further prosecution instead of an admissibility exam for immigration purposes.
Peck also said that US authorities “traditionally abused and misused” immigration exams to try and gather evidence for criminal cases, and Meng’s case is just another example. Peck cited emails exchanged between the CBSA and the FBI on the day before the arrest took place. Canadian government lawyers arguing on behalf of the United States denied that the CSBA was acting in conjunction with the RCMP, maintaining that the purpose of the CBSA’s actions was purely immigration related.
Meng is wanted by the US to face trial for defrauding HSBC bank in an effort to circumvent US sanctions against doing business with Iran. However, Meng’s lawyers assert that the case does not fit the criteria for dual criminality, where the transgression must be considered a crime in both Canada and the United States.
As the hearing continues, Meng is living in her home in Vancouver, having paid bail of roughly $7.5 million.
Meng’s arrest escalated the already fraught with tensions conflict between the United States and China, as the two countries continue a trade dispute that has resulted in multiple rounds of retaliatory tariffs and inflammatory rhetoric.