Huawei may be using at least one statement made by US President Donald Trump in defense against the extradition of its CFO to the country. That's based on recent reports detailing the executive's defense strategy. At least according to one unnamed source speaking under conditions of anonymity.
The daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, Meng Wanzhou has been under house arrest in Canada since 2018, pending extradition. Her arrest happened back in 2018 and the extradition was technically given the go-ahead back in May. That's after a Canadian court ruled that double-criminality rules were applicable. Summarily, the court proved that the crimes Ren Zhengfei is accused of would be a crime in both countries.
But the legal team for the CFO has been combatting extradition in earnest in the interim. Now, the team has at least one more argument against its client being handed over to the US for prosecution. At least in part, the defense will now argue that the focus of the case is not even about criminality. Instead, the team plans to assert that this is a "political case."
That's an idea that has been floated not just in China. But it's also been put forward by some in the US, although the allegation in question is certainly criminal.
According to the source, the defense team plans to highlight its argument with statements made by President Trump. In particular, it intends to point to statements that the president would be 'willing' to 'intervene' in the case. But that was predicated on the condition that doing so would help secure a trade deal between the US and China, among other things.
Huawei's CFO defense team has more than Trump up its sleeves
Of course, the defense team for the Huawei CFO has more to barter with than statements from Donald Trump. In addition to the president's statements, the team is already motioning for dismissal. That's on the basis that the executive was subject to an abuse of process. Namely, the motion filed with the courts claims that the Huawei team has evidence of "coordinated state misconduct."
That misconduct took place, the claim is, in the lead-up to the arrest.
The 'secret document' Huawei points to is claimed to have been completed just hours before the executive was arrested. According to Huawei, the document shows that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), the office of the Attorney General of Canada, and the FBI were in on the misconduct. The company argues that the arrest was planned in advance, resulting in a misuse of power by CBSA.
The CBSA, the court motion claims, violated Ms. Meng's rights by questioning her about the alleged crime and performing a search. That action was conducted for the RCMP and "ultimately" for the FBI, the motion claims. In effect, the team claims that bypassed proper procedures and processes via a concerted effort between the agencies.
It's unclear whether that document is included in the materials turned over to the US for its case. But the US has maintained that Huawei cannot use materials or other assets turned over to defend against the extradition. So the argument could ultimately fall flat if a Canadian court can't be convinced otherwise if the document has already been turned over.
Why was the Huawei CFO arrested, to begin with?
Huawei has largely denied any allegations put forward by the US as political in nature. So the tactic it reportedly plans for this extradition case isn't new at all. But the body of 'evidence' it plans to present in support of its claim is.
News of Ms. Meng's arrest, in the interim, has been widely reported amid the ongoing trade war between China and the US. And the news has only been amplified by the associated war between the US government and Huawei. Huawei is China's biggest smartphone OEM and one of the top three largest in the world. It's also a global leader in 5G technology, which is a position the US is keen to contest.
But Ms. Meng's arrest is also the result of several factors. To begin with, the executive stands accused of breaching US sanctions against Iran through a secondary company. It also allegedly misled banking institutions about transactions and Huawei's relationship with the company that sold telecom equipment in that region.
The hearing related to the extradition is presently scheduled for July 9.