VANCOUVER — The United States omitted and misstated facts when it shared allegations against Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou with Canadian officials ahead of her arrest in Vancouver, one of her lawyers argued Monday.
Scott Fenton told a B.C. Supreme Court judge that the summary of allegations used to justify her arrest was "manifestly unreliable" and could be considered an abuse of process.
A judge is considering whether the argument merits proceeding to a three-week hearing starting in February centred on allegations of abuses of process related to Meng's arrest.
"It's an egregiously misleading summary and also it leads to unreliable inferences of causation," Fenton told the B.C. Supreme Court judge.
Meng appeared in court for the first time since May for the next stage in her ongoing extradition hearings in Vancouver.
She is wanted on fraud charges in the United States that both she and Huawei have denied.
Meng is accused of misrepresenting Huawei's relationship with Skycom in a 2013 PowerPoint presentation to HSBC, allegedly putting the bank at risk of violating U.S. sanctions against Iran.
Canada's attorney general has said in documents that witnesses including former Huawei employees, FBI investigators and HSBC will say Meng falsely said Huawei didn't control Skycom.
The documents say witnesses will tell the court Meng reassured a senior HSBC executive that Skycom was a local partner of Huawei's and that the Chinese company had divested any shares in the company in Iran.
On Monday, Fenton accused the United States of cherry-picking information from the PowerPoint presentation that Meng made to HSBC in 2013 in its collection of evidence.
Fenton said the summary omitted slides in the same presentation where Meng described Huawei as having a "normal and controllable" relationship with Skycom, and another where she describes Huawei and Skycom as business partners that both did business in Iran.
"It put HSBC on full notice that both Huawei and Skycom were doing business in Iran," Fenton said.
That means Meng and Huawei informed HSBC that if it chose to process U.S. dollars relating to commerce in Iran through it U.S. subsidiaries, it would be at risk of liability under American sanction laws, he argued.
"After she's informed HSBC that its commerce with Skycom is in Iran, HSBC is on full notice in terms of measuring sanctions risk."
Meng was "five steps removed" from any decisions HSBC made with that information, he said.
Fenton told Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes that if she agreed there was an "air of reality" to the defence allegations that the United States failed in its duty to present fair and frank representations of what happened, she could order a stay in proceedings or an exclusion of the evidence.
"Where the court finds there are material misstatements and omissions going to the heart of the record of the case, then the court may intervene, find an abuse of process and fashion an appropriate remedy," Fenton said.
However, he suggested the court reserve any decision regarding remedy until the three-week hearing next year, and consider the argument among broader allegations that Meng suffered an abuse of process. The court will also hear arguments then of alleged political interference by U.S. President Donald Trump and an unlawful arrest procedure at Vancouver's airport.
The attorney general is expected to deliver a response to the defence arguments on Tuesday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 28, 2020.
Amy Smart, The Canadian Press