Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou intends to seek a stay of her extradition proceedings with her lawyers citing politics and recent comments made by U.S. President Donald Trump among other reasons why the case should be thrown out.
Meng, who is also the daughter of Huawei’s founder Ren Zhengfei, was arrested in December by Canadian authorities at the request of the U.S. government. She was charged with bank and wire fraud in relation to violating American sanctions on Iran.
Her lawyers laid our their legal arguments in a Vancouver court on Wednesday local time with Meng in attendance.
The U.S. alleges that Meng lied to a bank about Huawei’s relationship with an unofficial subsidiary in Iran called Skycom in order to get banking services.
Her lawyers reiterated her innocence and said that the bank had knowledge of the nature of Skycom’s business and operations in Iran and understood the company’s relationship with Huawei.
Meng’s defense also brought up issues with her arrest in December in Vancouver International Airport. Her legal team alleged that during the three hours she was held, her luggage was detained and searched and her cellphone and electronic devices were taken at the direction of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation. They claim she was made to give up her passwords to those devices.
Meng’s lawyer said “her rights were put in total suspension” and will ask for more disclosures about what happened.
The Huawei CFO’s defense also argued that the extradition request from the U.S. does not satisfy a requirement known as “double criminality.” That means that the crime of which she is accused of by the U.S. also needs to be a crime in Canada. Meng is accused of violating U.S. sanctions on Iran. Since Canada does not have sanctions on financial services in Iran, they argue that she cannot be extradited for the alleged bank and wire fraud and conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud.
And finally, Meng’s lawyers argued that there are political factors at play in the process. Her lawyers said “statements from President Trump are intimidating and coercive.” They did not specify which statements, but Trump has previously hinted that he could intervenein Meng’s case if it helped seal a U.S.-China trade deal.
“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,” Huawei said in a statement after the hearing.
Meng will next appear in court on Sept. 23 when her legal team is expected to make applications for more disclosures.
The Huawei executive also received new bail terms which will allow her to move into a larger mansion. She also must continue wearing a tracker and ankle bracelet.
The official start of the extradition hearing is expected to begin in January.
—Additional reporting by CNBC’s Laura Batchelor.