Canadian border agent covertly gathered evidence on Huawei for FBI, defence argues

By Sarah Berman, Moira Warburton*

VANCOUVER (Reuters) – The Canadian border agent who questioned Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou before her arrest at Vancouver airport in 2018 went beyond the scope of his jurisdiction, in an effort to gather evidence for the FBI, Meng’s legal team said on Friday.

Among the questions the agent asked was whether Huawei had an office in Iran, defence lawyer Mona Duckett told the judge, a line of questioning that she argued had nothing to do with immigration and her admissibility into Canada.

“It was an attempt to gather evidence for one audience,” the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Duckett said as the hearing for Meng’s extradition entered the last phase of arguments.

Meng, 49, is accused by the United States of misleading HSBC about Huawei Technologies Co Ltd’s business dealings in Iran, causing the bank to break U.S. sanctions.

The Canadian government has called the defence team’s argument an unfounded “conspiracy,” and stated that officials on both sides of the border followed due processes.

If extradited, Meng will face trial for bank fraud in the United States. Meng, who says she is innocent, is fighting her extradition from house arrest in Vancouver. Her legal team wants the case to be dismissed, arguing abuses of process took place during her arrest and her rights were violated.

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