A Canadian policeman testified about his arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou on a US extradition warrant, revealing Washington had requested that the data on his phone and laptop be secured so that it cannot be “remotely erased”.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police Constable Winston Yep – the first witness to testify in the extradition case – arrested the chief financial officer of the Chinese telecommunications giant in December 2018 during a layover in Vancouver.
She is accused of bank fraud linked to violations of US sanctions against Iran.
Yep told the BC Supreme Court that he received a request to detain Meng the day before her flight from Hong Kong and that it was decided in advance that she would be arrested after disembarking .
“We talked about getting on the plane… and we didn’t think it was a good idea due to officer safety and public safety,” Yep said.
He recalled that the American authorities had specifically asked their Canadian counterparts to seize his electronic devices and place them in a “Faraday bag” designed to block all wireless transmission in order to prevent “the data from being erased remotely” . He added that the request was “part of the process” and did not present any cause for concern.
The gendarme testified that he “didn’t know too much about” Meng or Huawei before he arrived in Canada. Because she was a “top person,” he added, her supervisor showed up at the airport to make sure nothing was wrong.
Meng’s attorneys claimed that a very serious procedural violation occurred during his arrest.
In a case that has diplomatic implications for Canada’s relations with the United States and China, her fellow company executives claimed the case was truly part of a U.S. trade war in which it had become a pawn.
Alykhan Velshi, vice president of corporate affairs at Huawei Canada told The Guardian: “If she hadn’t been an executive at a major Chinese company, we don’t think she would have ever been arrested.”
He added, “There have been very serious violations of Meng Wanzhou’s constitutional rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
“She was detained for three hours without explanation, without access to a lawyer, and questioned in a language that is not her mother tongue. She was not told why she was being arrested, ”Velshi said.
“There was a deliberate and premeditated effort by Canadian officials to question him without a lawyer present in order to obtain information for the US administration.
Velshi claimed that Canadian authorities illegally seized, opened, searched, viewed and shared the contents of his personal electronic devices, which Meng’s team said violated the process.
Indeed, Meng’s supporters claim that the FBI wanted the Canada Border Services Agency to use the agency’s extraordinary powers to interrogate Meng without a lawyer. It is alleged that the Canadians then turned over information, including details taken from his SIM card and computer to the FBI to aid in the investigation.
In court records, Meng’s attorneys alleged that Canadian and US authorities “conspired together to delay Meng’s arrest and attempted to obtain information that would help US authorities prosecute her for fraud.”
If proven, the allegations could lead to the suspension of the extradition process.
Lawyers for the Canadian Department of Justice countered that Meng’s rights had never been violated and that there had been no conspiracy with the United States to deny her her rights.
Officers from the Canada Border Services Agency will also be testifying this week about what happened at the Vancouver airport.
Meng is the daughter of Ren Zhengfei, CEO and founder of the main Chinese tech giant that the United States has increasingly targeted worldwide by the United States as an arm of the Chinese Communist Party.
She faces fraud charges in the United States, but denies allegations that she distorted the company’s relationship with Skycom Tech, putting HSBC at risk of violating U.S. sanctions in Iran.
The current proceeding is largely a process of elimination to determine what issues can be referred to a judge in a more comprehensive extradition proceeding next year.
Most lawyers say the case could take many years to resolve, but it is clearly Huawei’s intention to suggest that the Canadian police and government have become, knowingly or not, enthusiastic accomplices in a politically motivated attempt. motivated United States to intimidate Huawei.
The issue has become more difficult due to the arrest of two Canadians by the Chinese government fifteen days after his arrest.