Huawei CFO had methods to flee Canada, border agent tells courtroom in U.S. extradition case

VANCOUVER (Reuters) – A Canadian border official included with the interrogation of Huawei Chief Economic Officer Meng Wanzhou in advance of her 2018 arrest instructed a court docket on Thursday she was a flight hazard and had the assets to escape the country with no reporting to authorities.

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

Prosecutors are trying to set up that Meng’s arrest and investigation were earlier mentioned board, when Meng’s legal professionals are searching for to show that Canadian and U.S. authorities illegally directed the Canada Border Services Agency’s (CBSA) evaluation of Meng in buy to use the agency’s more investigative powers to obtain information from her without having a lawyer existing.

Meng, 48, is accused of misrepresenting Huawei Systems Co Ltd’s [HWT.UL] dealings with Iran, putting 1 of its loan providers HSBC at danger of violating U.S. trade sanctions.

She has denied the charges and mounted a defence, asking that her extradition be thrown out for the reason that of alleged collusion between Canadian and U.S. authorities among other motives.

CBSA officers have testified that they had explanation to detain and investigate Meng regardless of the pending arrest warrant.

CBSA superintendent Sowmith Katragadda listed all the nations Meng had frequented primarily based on the stamps in her passport, together with Mexico, Senegal, Colombia, Brunei, and the United Arab Emirates. He told the court browsing some of these “source countries” was a “national security issue,” and constituted grounds to search Meng’s gadgets.

She “has the resources to depart Canada and not report for an assessment,” Katragadda mentioned. “Ms. Meng is a senior govt for a single of the major organizations in the earth. And Canada is a incredibly significant region with a whole lot of small airports.”

Defence attorney Mona Duckett challenged Katragadda concerning “deficiencies” in his take note and report taking for the duration of the investigation. Katragadda acknowledged he did not just take be aware of a assembly he attended with police the morning of the arrest, the collection of equipment, possible threats to nationwide protection, or the simple fact that the Royal Canadian Mounted Law enforcement (RCMP) had been waiting around to arrest Meng after his evaluation was entire.

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

Meng’s arrest has set off a diplomatic conflict involving Ottawa and Beijing. Shortly right after her detention, China arrested Canadian citizens Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig on espionage expenses. The two men keep on being in detention.

On Thursday, Primary Minister Justin Trudeau mentioned he experienced no regrets about Meng’s arrest regardless of international policy implications, pointing to the “longstanding extradition treaty with our closest ally” and introducing that Canada’s laws simply cannot only be adopted “when it’s practical or when it is quick.”

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

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

A different RCMP formal, who is now retired and is alleged by Meng’s attorneys to have illegally passed figuring out particulars about her digital equipment to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, declined to testify.

Courtroom documents demonstrate that prosecutors to begin with declined to release notes relating to his affidavit due to “witness safety” concerns.

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