TORONTO – The Supreme Court of the western Canadian province of British Colombia heard testimony this week from the law enforcement personnel who detained Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Chinese technology giant Huawei, at the request of the United States in a case that the company describes as “political persecution.”
The allegations against Meng, daughter of Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei, are false, Huawei Canada vice president Alykhan Velshi told EFE, expressing confidence that both she and the company “will be exonerated completely.”
Meng, now 48, is charged with committing bank fraud and violating US sanctions on Iran by misleading banks about the business her company allegedly conducted in that country through a subsidiary called Skycom.
The indictments against Meng and Huawei “constitute political persecution on the part of the Trump administration,” Velshi said, calling the case “another front” in the trade war between Washington and Beijing.
In arguing that the charges are politically motivated, Meng’s attorneys have repeatedly cited comments made by President Donald Trump shortly after she was detained by Canada on Dec. 1, 2018, during a stopover in Vancouver en route from Hong Kong to Mexico City.
“If I think it’s good for what will be certainly the largest trade deal ever made – which is a very important thing – what’s good for national security, I would certainly intervene (in Meng’s case) if I thought it was necessary,” Trump said.
During this week’s hearings in Vancouver, personnel from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canadian Border Service Agency (CBSA) testified about the circumstances of Meng’s arrest.
Instead of being taken into custody as she disembarked from the airplane, Meng was detained by CBSA agents who, according to Velshi, illegally took her electronic devices and accessed the contents and questioned the Chinese executive for several hours before police placed her under arrest pursuant to the US extradition request.
Velshi said that the process violated Meng’s rights under Canadian law.
“She was detained for three hours without explanation, without access to a lawyer, and interrogated in a language that is not her first language. She was not told why she was being arrested,” he said.
After Meng’s arrest, China froze diplomatic and trade relations with Canada and accused Ottawa of violating the human rights of one of its citizens.
Beijing also detained two Canadian citizens – former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor – and continues to hold them on charges of endangering China’s national security.
Meng was released on bail 10 days after her arrest and now resides with her family in one of the two mansions she owns in Vancouver.
Though the executive is required to wear a GPS ankle bracelet and pay for her own 24/7 surveillance, her living conditions are a world away from those of Kovrig and Spavor, who remain behind bars in China and were only recently informed about the COVID-19 pandemic.