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UPDATE 1-Huawei CFO lawyer says Canadian police put FBI demands ahead of Meng's rights

UPDATE 1-Huawei CFO lawyer says Canadian police put FBI demands ahead of Meng's rights

· 03/17/2021 17:21
UPDATE 1-Huawei CFO lawyer says Canadian police put FBI demands ahead of Meng's rights

Updates with quotes, paragraphs 8-11

By Sarah Berman

- Canadian police prioritized demands from the FBI over the rights of Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou "at nearly every turn" during her investigation and arrest, Meng's lawyers said on Wednesday.

Meng, 49, who is fighting extradition to the United States on bank fraud charges, returned to the British Columbia Supreme Court on Wednesday, as her hearing entered the final stages.

She was arrested on a U.S. warrant on Dec. 1, 2018, during a stopover at Vancouver International Airport and has since been under house arrest in Vancouver. Meng is accused by the United States of misleading HSBC HSBA.L about Huawei Technologies Co Ltd's business dealings in Iran, putting the bank at risk of violating U.S. sanctions.

She denies the charges and has asked the extradition request be thrown out because her rights were violated.

Defense lawyer Tony Paisana said authorities on both sides of the border failed in their duties to conduct themselves honorably and transparently, listing many alleged violations of Meng's rights in submissions to the court on Wednesday.

Paisana said U.S. authorities made misrepresentations in their request for her extradition, that Canadian police disregarded an order to arrest Meng immediately, that her devices were seized without proper authority, and her device passcodes were improperly obtained.

"What we say animated much of this misconduct was an overarching preoccupation on the part of Canadian authorities to appease and otherwise comply with demands received from the FBI," Paisana said. "At nearly every turn, the authorities prioritized U.S. requests over Ms. Meng's rights," he added.

Paisana said Royal Canadian Mounted Police Staff Sergeant Ben Chang's refusal to testify during extradition hearings in late 2020 was an "unprecedented act" and amounted to a deliberate and flagrant disregard of police responsibilities.

He said officers who did appear as witnesses last year provided "less than truthful" testimony when confronted with alleged abuses of process.

Paisana said RCMP Constable Winston Yep gave testimony "bordering on the absurd" when defending his decision to allow border agents to question Meng before her arrest by police.

Yep suggested Meng could have had knives or a counter-surveillance team with her on the plane, Paisana recalled of earlier testimony.

Canada has called for two of Meng's main arguments in her extradition case to be dismissed, saying her claims are not backed with evidence and that one issue has been ruled on, court documents released on Tuesday showed. nL1N2LF01S


(Reporting by Sarah Berman in Vancouver; Editing by Denny Thomas and Peter Cooney)