Huawei CFO experienced sources to flee Canada, border agent tells court in U.S. extradition case

VANCOUVER (Reuters) – A Canadian border formal involved with the interrogation of Huawei Main Money Officer Meng Wanzhou ahead of her 2018 arrest told a courtroom on Thursday she was a flight possibility and had the assets to escape the place devoid of reporting to authorities.

Huawei Technologies Chief Economic Officer Meng Wanzhou leaves a court docket hearing in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada November 17, 2020. REUTERS/Jennifer Gauthier

Prosecutors are attempting to build that Meng’s arrest and investigation were being higher than board, while Meng’s attorneys are searching for to establish that Canadian and U.S. authorities illegally directed the Canada Border Solutions Agency’s (CBSA) examination of Meng in get to use the agency’s supplemental investigative powers to gather info from her without a law firm present.

Meng, 48, is accused of misrepresenting Huawei Systems Co Ltd’s [HWT.UL] dealings with Iran, placing a single of its loan providers HSBC at risk of violating U.S. trade sanctions.

She has denied the rates and mounted a defence, asking that her extradition be thrown out because of alleged collusion involving Canadian and U.S. authorities amid other reasons.

CBSA officers have testified that they experienced reason to detain and look into Meng regardless of the pending arrest warrant.

CBSA superintendent Sowmith Katragadda outlined all the nations around the world Meng had visited centered on the stamps in her passport, together with Mexico, Senegal, Colombia, Brunei, and the United Arab Emirates. He instructed the court docket browsing some of these “source countries” was a “national stability worry,” and constituted grounds to research Meng’s devices.

She “has the sources to depart Canada and not report for an examination,” Katragadda mentioned. “Ms. Meng is a senior executive for one particular of the major companies in the environment. And Canada is a very major nation with a whole lot of little airports.”

Defence law firm Mona Duckett challenged Katragadda pertaining to “deficiencies” in his be aware and report using all through the investigation. Katragadda acknowledged he did not take note of a meeting he attended with police the early morning of the arrest, the collection of units, likely threats to countrywide protection, or the point that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) were waiting around to arrest Meng right after his examination was full.

But Katragadda denied these had been intentional omissions, or that these gaps were being of concern to top rated-position border officers.

Meng’s arrest has set off a diplomatic conflict in between Ottawa and Beijing. Before long immediately after her detention, China arrested Canadian citizens Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig on espionage expenses. The two adult men continue to be in detention.

On Thursday, Primary Minister Justin Trudeau mentioned he experienced no regrets about Meng’s arrest regardless of overseas coverage implications, pointing to the “longstanding extradition treaty with our closest ally” and introducing that Canada’s legal guidelines just cannot only be adopted “when it’s easy or when it is straightforward.”

Hearings in the British Columbia Supreme Court docket this week and upcoming week consist of witness testimony from CBSA and RCMP officials, regarding their carry out for the duration of Meng’s investigation and arrest.

Recent testimony has reviewed and scrutinized minute-to-moment developments at the airport on the working day of Meng’s arrest.

Another RCMP formal, who is now retired and is alleged by Meng’s legal professionals to have illegally handed identifying facts about her digital units to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, declined to testify.

Court paperwork clearly show that prosecutors initially declined to launch notes relating to his affidavit because of to “witness safety” considerations.

Reporting by Sarah Berman in Vancouver and Joseph Sipalan in Kuala Lumpur Composing by Moira Warburton in Toronto Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Stephen Coates