Meng Wanzhou’s lawyers say officers intentionally misled her

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Meng Wanzhou’s lawyers say officers intentionally misled her

Huawei’s Financial Chief Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver on May 8, 2019.

Lindsey Wasson/Reuters

Lawyers for Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou have accused Canada’s border-security agency and the RCMP of deliberately concealing the truth of what happened last December when Ms. Meng was apprehended at Vancouver’s airport on a U.S. extradition request.

In hundreds of pages of court documents released Tuesday, Ms. Meng’s legal team argues, among other things, that officers of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) intentionally made incomplete notes of their dealings with U.S. law enforcement and unlawfully questioned Ms. Meng when she was arrested Dec. 1.

They further accuse Canadian authorities of deliberately misleading Ms. Meng by conducting a “covert criminal investigation” aimed at circumventing the terms of her arrest warrant and preserving evidence for the FBI.

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The court documents say a detailed examination of officers’ notes and the deficiencies within them show “a clear pattern emerges from these materials: the CBSA and the RCMP have strategically drafted these documents to subvert the applicant’s ability to learn the truth regarding her detention.”

The memorandum says it is “unfathomable” that CBSA officers involved in Ms. Meng’s case would all fail to make notes on critical subjects such as the existence of an arrest warrant and the creation and transfer of a piece of paper containing her pass codes to her electronic devices.

“In these circumstance, the failure to make notes was clearly a ‘strategic omission’ … made to thwart the applicant’s ability to get at the truth,” the document states, adding that it is “disturbing” this information only came to light through a civil lawsuit.

The statements were included in a memorandum of fact filed with the court by the defence in advance of plans next month for lawyers on both sides to spend eight days arguing over further demands by Ms. Meng’s lawyers for increased access to documents involving her case.

Ms. Meng is accused of providing misleading information to foreign banks regarding the nature of the relationship between Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and Skycom Tech. Co. Ltd., which the U.S. Department of Justice calls a subsidiary that sold telecommunications equipment to Iran. U.S. prosecutors say that placed those banks at risk of violating U.S. sanctions, through the money they handled. According to the indictment against Ms. Meng, one of the banks in question “cleared more than US$100-million worth of Skycom-related transactions through the United States between 2010 and 2014.”

She has been charged in the United States with bank fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud.

Her detention at Vancouver’s airport last December was followed by the detention in China of two Canadians. Ms. Meng’s arrest and the apparent retaliation by China has caused relations between the two countries to plummet and has been accompanied by trade consequences for Canadian canola and meat products.

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Ms. Meng’s extradition trial is set to begin Jan. 20, more than a year after she was taken into custody.

The defence plans to argue Ms. Meng was subject to an abuse of process so egregious that the extradition proceedings against her should be stayed.

Ms. Meng’s lawyers are requesting “all pertinent notes, electronic communications, reports and memoranda” from numerous RCMP officers, CBSA personnel and U.S. Department of Justice members, along with communications between Canadian and U.S. law-enforcement agencies related to their client’s detention, search, interrogation and arrest.

In the documents released Tuesday, Ms. Meng asserts that the border guards unlawfully detained and questioned her upon her arrival at the airport before turning her over to the RCMP.

The defence asserts that the CBSA used its powers to detain Ms. Meng under the pretense of an immigration matter, but never alerted her to the fact she was wanted on an arrest warrant. This allowed the CBSA to assist the RCMP and U.S. authorities.

“In reality, from the outset of the applicant’s detention, the RCMP and/or CBSA were acting as agents of the FBI for the purpose of obtaining and preserving evidence,” the memorandum filed by Ms. Meng’s lawyers states.

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“The question that remains is to what extent and how the FBI were involved in this scheme.”

The new court filing also asserts that border agents violated her Charter rights by forcing her to provide her various pass codes before advising her of her legal rights.

Ms. Meng has been free on bail and is living in one of her multimillion-dollar homes in Vancouver while wearing an electronic tracking device and being monitored by a security company.

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