Canadian police supervisor who oversaw Huawei CFO arrest set for more questioning

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VANCOUVER (Reuters) – Testimony from the Canadian police supervisor who oversaw the arrest of Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou two years ago will continue on Wednesday, with the defense expected to dig into the changes in the arrest plan.

Meng, 48, was arrested in December 2018 at Vancouver International Airport by Canadian police, on a warrant from the United States. She is facing charges of bank fraud for allegedly misleading HSBC about Huawei Technologies Co Ltd’s business dealings in Iran, causing the bank to break U.S. sanctions.

Meng has said she is innocent and is fighting the extradition, arguing that abuses of process occurred which should invalidate it.

In particular, her lawyers have alleged that U.S. and Canadian authorities coordinated ahead of her arrest to use the extended investigative powers of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to interrogate her without a lawyer present, before her arrest by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

Prosecutors have sought to prove the process followed the law.

On Tuesday, RCMP supervisor Sergeant Janice Vander Graaf, who oversaw Meng’s arrest, said she relayed a suggestion from her superior that officers apprehend Meng on the plane, but said she herself thought this was “overstepping authority.”

However, Meng was first detained by the CBSA and interrogated for nearly three hours during which border agents seized her electronic devices and secured passcodes.

Testimony has also focused on the seizure of Meng’s electronic devices. Huawei lawyers have claimed Canadian police inappropriately shared identifying details about the devices, including serial numbers and passcodes, with U.S. authorities.

Witnesses from the CBSA and RCMP have testified over two and a half weeks on the events surrounding Meng’s detainment and arrest, focusing on the decision to allow the CBSA to interrogate her ahead of the arrest.

Diplomatic relations between Ottawa and Beijing have degraded in the wake of Meng’s arrest. China arrested Canadian citizens Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig on espionage charges days later.

Witness testimony is set to last until Friday, with the potential for two to three more days scheduled in December. Meng’s extradition hearing is expected to wrap up in April 2021.

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