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Lawyer for Huawei CFO says US evidence misleading

Lawyers for a senior executive for Chinese technology giant Huawei Technologies argued in a Canadian courtroom Monday that U.S. authorities used a misleading summary that “cherry picks” evidence in requesting her extradition.

Canada arrested Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of Huawei’s founder, at Vancouver’s airport in late 2018. The U.S. 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.

The U.S. accuses Huawei of using a Hong Kong shell company called Skycom to sell equipment to Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions. It says Meng, 48, committed fraud by misleading the HSBC bank about the company’s business dealings in Iran.

Meng Wanzhou is surrounded by security as she leaves B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, British Columbia, Monday, Sept. 28, 2020. The senior executive for Chinese communications giant Huawei Technologies was in court arguing that her extradition to the U.S. should be halted because her rights have been violated. (Jonathan HaywardThe Canadian Press via AP)

Defense lawyer Scott Fenton said the case against Meng hinges on an August 2013 PowerPoint presentation made to a HSBC executive during a lunch in Hong Kong.

In making its case the U.S. accuses Meng of failing to inform HSBC during the presentation that Huawei controls Skycom.

Fenton argued that the U.S. tried to prove its point using selected slides. But if the full presentation is viewed, Meng said Huawei had a “normal and controllable” relationship with Skycom.

Meng Wanzhou leaves B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, British Columbia, Monday, Sept. 28, 2020. The senior executive for Chinese communications giant Huawei Technologies was in court arguing that her extradition to the U.S. should be halted because her rights have been violated. (Jonathan HaywardThe Canadian Press via AP)

“It is seriously misleading by omission," he said.

Fenton said Meng supplied enough information for HSBC to make its own decisions.

“She told them everything they need to know to measure sanctions risks,” he said.

Meng Wanzhou is surrounded by security as she leaves B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, British Columbia, Monday, Sept. 28, 2020. The senior executive for Chinese communications giant Huawei Technologies was in court arguing that her extradition to the U.S. should be halted because her rights have been violated. (Jonathan HaywardThe Canadian Press via AP)

Meng appeared in court for the first time since May. She was wearing a tracking device as part of her bail agreement. She began the day wearing a mask but removed it as court continued.

Monday’s proceedings are part of Meng’s arguments that the extradition proceedings should be halted because of an abuse of process.

Her lawyers claim Canada Border Services Agency officers detained and questioned Meng without a lawyer, seized her electronic devices and compelled her to give up the passcodes before her official arrest.

FILE - In this March 28, 2018, file image made from video, Michael Kovrig, an adviser with the International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based non-governmental organization, speaks during an interview in Hong Kong. China told Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday, June 22, 2020 to “stop making irresponsible remarks” after he said Beijing's decision to charge two Canadians with spying was linked to his country's arrest of a Chinese tech executive. (AP Photo, File)

They argue the Royal Canadian Mounted Police acted at the behest of the FBI to gather and share technical information about Meng’s laptop, phones, and tablets, in violation of the Extradition Act.

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 oil seed.

FILE - In this March 2, 2017, file image made from video, Michael Spavor, director of Paektu Cultural Exchange, talks during a Skype interview in Yanji, China. China told Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday, June 22, 2020 to “stop making irresponsible remarks” after he said Beijing's decision to charge two Canadians with spying was linked to his country's arrest of a Chinese tech executive. (AP Photo, File)

Meng remains free on bail in Vancouver. The extradition case could take years