Huawei CFO is a 'pawn' in US-China political-economic contest: Lawyers

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Lawyers for a senior executive of Chinese tech giant Huawei say her extradition hearing should be ended because comments by US President Donald Trump reduce her to a “pawn in a political-economic contest.”

Canada arrested Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of Huawei’s founder, at Vancouver’s airport in late 2018. The US wants her extradited to face fraud charges. Her arrest infuriated Beijing, which sees her case as a political move designed to prevent China’s rise.

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The US accuses Huawei of using a Hong Kong shell company called Skycom to sell equipment to Iran in violation of US sanctions. It says Meng committed fraud by misleading the HSBC bank about the company’s business dealings in Iran.

In recent court filing’s Meng’s lawyers argue the United States is using the extradition to secure a trade advantage and say that is undermining the integrity of Canada’s judicial proceedings. They say the foundation of the legal process in Canada has been destroyed and request a stay of proceedings for abuse of process.

Read more: China’s Huawei hid business operation that sold prohibited US computer gear to Iran

The filings point to an interview with Trump two weeks after Meng’s arrest in which he was asked if he would become involved in the case if he thought it would secure a trade deal with China.

“I would certainly intervene if I thought it was necessary,” Trump said.

Meng’s lawyers say the US isn’t interested in justice.

“The president and his administration have no real interest in the merits of the criminal proceeding ... but are intent on using her chase as a bargaining chip in a trade dispute,” the filings say.

A key part of the US case against Meng deals with an Aug. 22, 2013, meeting at a Hong Kong restaurant at which she is accused of using a PowerPoint presentation to give misleading information to HSBC executives about Huawei’s relationship with Skycom.

The filings say US officials selectively summarize information from only a few slides and omit “highly relevant information” that was on two slides.

In May, Meng failed in a bid to end the extradition process when a Canadian judge ruled the allegations against her could constitute a crime in Canada as well.

Meng’s arrest has soured relations between Canada and China. In apparent retaliation, China detained former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and Canadian entrepreneur Michael Spavor. China has also placed restrictions on various Canadian exports to China, including canola oilseed. China also handed a death sentence to a convicted Canadian drug smuggler in a sudden retrial.

Meng remains free on bail in Vancouver.

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