British Columbia

Huawei CFO's arrest and detention unlawful, defence argues in Vancouver court

Meng Wanzhou's legal team argue in court that the Huawei chief financial officer's arrest and detention were unlawful and that there is no basis for her extradition to the U.S.

Meng Wanzhou is under house arrest facing possible extradition to U.S.

Flanked by security and photographers, Meng Wanzhou leaves for B.C. Supreme Court on May 8. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Meng Wanzhou's legal team argued in court Wednesday that the Huawei chief financial officer's arrest and detention were unlawful and that there is no basis for her extradition to the U.S.

Lawyer Scott Fenton said comments by U.S. President Donald Trump suggested the case against Meng was politically motivated. He said he would seek a stay in proceedings, calling Trump's comments "intimidating and corrosive of the rule of law."

Meng made an appearance in a crowded courtroom in Vancouver on Wednesday morning in the latest step of her much-anticipated extradition hearing. She was detained at Vancouver International Airport on Dec. 1 at the behest of U.S. officials.

Meng leaves her home in Vancouver on Wednesday. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

The U.S. has accused Meng and Chinese telecom giant Huawei of conspiracy, fraud and obstruction in relation to violating U.S. sanctions in Iran.

The U.S. and China have tried to keep Meng's case separate from their trade dispute, although Trump has said he would consider intervening in the case if it would help forge a trade deal with Beijing.

On Wednesday, Meng's team said they would apply for additional disclosure from the prosecutors for the case, including information related to her arrest at the airport.

The disclosure application was set for Sept. 23-Oct. 4 in B.C. Supreme Court.

Meng makes an appearance at B.C. Supreme Court Wednesday. (Jane Wolsak)

Move to Shaughnessy

The billionaire businesswoman is out on $10-million bail, but she is under house arrest in Vancouver pending the extradition hearing.

On Wednesday, her lawyers asked that Meng be moved from the Dunbar home she is currently occupying to her mansion in Vancouver's exclusive Shaughnessy neighbourhood, which they argue has a better security setup.

Meng has two homes in Vancouver, including this $15 million mansion in Shaughnessy. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Both Huawei and Meng have denied all the allegations against them.

Benjamin Howes, vice-president of media affairs at Huawei, made a statement outside the courthouse, saying the company had "extreme confidence" in Meng's innocence.

"We have maintained that her U.S.-ordered arrest was an unlawful abuse of process — one guided by political considerations and tactics, not by the rule of law," Howes said. 

Huawei spokesperson Benjamin Howes makes a statement to media outside the Law Courts Wednesday. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Read more background on Meng's case here:

International attention

Media from around the world have been closely following the proceedings, and a long lineup to attend her hearing started early Wednesday morning at B.C. Supreme Court.

Meng's arrest has had repercussions far beyond the Vancouver courthouse.

Protesters line the steps outside B.C. Supreme Court ahead of Meng's appearance on Wednesday. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Canada has accused China of trying to exert economic pressure in relation to the case.

In recent months, China has blocked canola seed from two of Canada's biggest exporters. Two Canadians were arrested in China shortly after Meng's detention, accused of being spies. 

Outside the court, protesters called for the release of the two detained Canadians and protested China's internment of an estimated one million Uighurs in the country's northwest.

Listen to our original podcast, Sanctioned: The Arrest of a Telecom Giant:

With files from Jason Proctor and The Associated Press


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