A profile of Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou is displayed on a Huawei computer at a Huawei store in Beijing, China, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018. Canadian authorities said Wednesday that they have arrested Meng for possible extradition to the United States. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Ng Han Guan

Huawei executive’s defence team alleges Canadians were ‘agents’ of the FBI

eng’s arrest at Vancouver’s airport has sparked a diplomatic crisis between Canada and China

A defence team for a Chinese telecom executive is alleging Canadian officials acted as “agents” of American law enforcement while she was detained at Vancouver’s airport for three hours ahead of her arrest.

In court documents released this week, defence lawyers for Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou point to handwritten notes by Canadian officers indicating Meng’s electronics were collected in anticipation of a request from the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States.

The notes show the RCMP asked the FBI if the U.S. was interested in Meng’s luggage and that a Canada Border Services Agency officer wrote down Meng’s passcodes, while another questioned her about Huawei’s alleged business in Iran.

This happened before she was informed of her arrest, the defence says.

“The RCMP and/or CBSA were acting as agents of the FBI for the purpose of obtaining and preserving evidence,” alleges a memorandum of fact and law filed by the defence.

“The question that remains is to what extent and how the FBI were involved in this scheme.”

The materials collected by the defence were released ahead of an eight-day hearing scheduled for September, in which the defence is expected to argue for access to more documents ahead of Meng’s extradition trial.

The Attorney General of Canada has yet to file a response and none of the allegations have been tested in court.

Meng’s arrest at Vancouver’s airport has sparked a diplomatic crisis between Canada and China and drawn international scrutiny of Canadian extradition laws.

She was arrested at the behest of the U.S., which is seeking her extradition on fraud charges in violation of sanctions with Iran.

Both Meng and Huawei have denied any wrongdoing. Meng is free on bail and is living in one of her two multimillion-dollar homes in Vancouver.

The RCMP said in an email the new documents are still subject to the court process and pointed to a response it filed alongside the CBSA in June to a separate civil lawsuit, in which Meng claims her constitutional rights were breached when she was detained before her arrest.

Border officials only examined Meng and her luggage for immigration and customs purposes and RCMP officers acted “lawfully and in good faith at all times,” the email says, adding Mounties will provide further disclosure if compelled by the court.

The CBSA declined to comment as the matter is before the courts.

READ MORE: RCMP originally planned to arrest Meng Wanzhou on plane, defence lawyers say

READ MORE: B.C. judges approves release of video, affidavits ahead of Huawei exec’s trial

Meng’s extradition trial won’t begin until Jan. 20, but the court documents shed light on her defence team’s planned arguments that her arrest was unlawful and for the benefit of the United States.

“These are allegations of a purposeful violation of a court order and the abuse of important Canadian legal norms for improper purposes, namely, to further the objectives of the requesting state,” the defence says.

They plan to argue that the U.S. committed an abuse of process by using the extradition proceedings for political and economic gain. Parts of the defence are comments by U.S. President Donald Trump that he would intervene in Meng’s case ”if necessary.”

The documents say the seizure of electronics and questioning of Meng by border officials in Canada also follows a pattern of how some other Huawei employees have been treated at U.S. ports of entry, including an engineer who reported his laptop was searched several times between 2013 and 2018.

“This targeting has included the apparent abuse of customs and immigration powers to search and question Huawei employees at various U.S. ports of entry,” the documents say.

The defence accuses officers of intentionally poor note keeping that obscures what exactly happened, including why the arrest plan apparently changed.

The documents suggest that Canadian officials initially planned to arrest Meng “immediately” after she landed, by boarding the plane before she got off. Instead, three CBSA officers immediately detained Meng when she disembarked the plane while two RCMP officers stood nearby and watched, despite their knowledge of the warrant calling for her “immediate” arrest, the defence says.

The defence argues spotty notes kept by the CBSA officers constitute a “strategic omission.”

“When assessed together, a clear pattern emerges from these materials: the CBSA and the RCMP have strategically drafted these documents to subvert the applicant’s ability to learn the truth regarding her detention,” the defence says.

Amy Smart, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

MISSING TEEN: Williams Lake RCMP ask public’s help in finding Angel Emile

Emile was last seen on Windmill Crescent in Williams Lake Jan. 16

Cariboo female hockey players help make history at outdoor BC Winter Classic

Brette Kerley, Paige Outhouse, Pyper Alexander and goaltender Cadence Petitclerc-Crosby took part

EDITORIAL: Embrace literacy

Family Literacy Week is from Jan. 26 to Feb. 2

Cariboo air attack officer reports from Australia

“We are flying a lot, bombing fires anywhere from four to nine hours a day”

VIDEO: WHO says China virus not global health emergency

The decision came after Chinese authorities moved to lock down three cities on Thursday

Electric charging stations in 100 Mile now open to the public

‘People have called from as far away as Kamloops’

Risk to Canadians of Chinese coronavirus low, health minister says

Five or six people are being monitored in Canada, including at least one in Vancouver

Uber, Lyft approved for ride-hailing in Lower Mainland

Kater Technologies Inc.’s application was rejected

VIDEO: ‘Porn’ answer was a wrong one for Surrey family on ‘Feud’ game show

Surrey’s Rams competed on the TV show Wednesday night

Abandoned boats left to freeze on Okanagan Lake cause chaos

Over the last week weather conditions have caused three separate incidents

B.C. teacher witnesses coronavirus terror in Shanghai: ‘Everyone is on edge’

Face masks and hand sanitizer ‘sell out’ as 9 SARS-like illness cases confirmed in the city

B.C.-based firefighting plane crashes in Australia, killing three

Three people are confirmed dead in the crash in New South Wales

Most Read