Attorneys for Huawei’s CFO previewed their arguments for halting U.S. efforts to extradite her from Canada, citing comments by President Donald Trump to support their view that the case is politically motivated.
The U.S. is seeking Meng Wanzhou’s extradition on charges that she deceived banks as part of a scheme to hide Huawei’s ownership of Skycom, a company that did business in Iran. Since her arrest in December, Trump has suggested intervening in the case if it would help seal a trade deal with Beijing.
“If I think it’s good for the country, 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 if I thought it was necessary,” he told Reuters in an interview.
At a court hearing in Vancouver on Wednesday, Meng’s lawyer Scott Fenton said Trump’s comments were “corrosive of the rule of law” and evidence that the case is politically motivated.
They should disqualify the U.S. from seeking Meng’s extradition, he said, adding that no jury, properly instructed, could find her guilty of fraud.
As Reuters reports, the case “has attracted global attention and sparked a diplomatic crisis between Beijing and Ottawa.” China has repeatedly demanded the release of Meng, the daughter of Huawei’s founder, and she has sued Canada for violating her civil rights.
Meng’s defense team also said Wednesday there is no evidence that she lied to a Huawei bank about its relationship with Skycom and that she cannot be extradited because the conduct at issue would not be criminal in Canada.
Huawei has said Skycom was a local business partner in Iran but the U.S. maintains it was an unofficial subsidiary that the Chinese telecom giant used to continue doing business in Iran despite U.S. export sanctions.
Meng is currently free under private guard on $7.4 million bail. Justice Department officials have insisted the case has nothing to do with the U.S.-China trade dispute.