Canadian authorities accused of deception in Huawei exec extradition case
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Vancouver (AFP) –
A lawyer for Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou on Wednesday accused Canadian authorities of being "deliberately deceptive" and "untruthful" in their court testimony about her 2018 arrest and then trying to cover it up.
Meng is fighting extradition to the United States, where she faces charges of bank fraud and conspiracy related to a Huawei subsidiary's alleged violations of US sanctions on Iran. Both Meng and the Chinese telecom giant deny any wrongdoing.
Her defense lawyer Tony Paisana said authorities failed to read Meng her rights, give her access to a lawyer or consular support, or safeguard her seized phones and laptop when she was detained during a Vancouver stopover in December 2018.
Border and federal police officers last year admitted to a series of errors -- including giving passcodes for Meng's electronic devices to US authorities -- but testified there was no intent to breach her rights.
"The officers at the heart of this case at times demonstrated a lack of regard for the Charter, this court's role in overseeing their conduct and, frankly, the truth," said Paisana, alleging they also attempted to "conceal their misconduct."
"When pressed further about this issue in court, many of the officers provided untruthful testimony, sometimes bordering on the absurd," he added.
Paisana singled out for special rebuke -- for refusing to testify at the extradition trial -- retired RCMP staff sergeant Ben Chang who'd handed over Meng's electronic devices information to the FBI.
The sum of these gaffes and Chang's refusal to testify, he said, amount to "a pattern of misconduct."
In court filings, Canadian government lawyers called on the judge to throw out the abuse allegations, which they said were "supported only by speculation and innuendo," and proceed to extradition.
"She has failed to establish the existence of the conspiracy she alleges," they said in the documents. And, "the evidence adduced by (Meng) does not establish misconduct."
Meng remains under house arrest in her Vancouver mansion. Her extradition trial is expected to end in mid-May, barring appeals.
© 2021 AFP