Huawei CFO’s lawyer accuses Canadian police supervisor of cover-up


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Huawei Technologies Chief Financial Officer Meng leaves her home to attend a court hearing in Vancouver


By Sarah Berman

VANCOUVER (Reuters) – A lawyer for Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou claimed on Thursday that a Canadian police supervisor in charge of Meng’s arrest two years ago deviated from her initial court submissions about key conversations to protect federal police officials, the court heard on Thursday.

Meng’s defense lawyer Scott Fenton pointed to a sworn statement from 2019 where Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Sergeant Janice Vander Graaf said she didn’t have a recollection of events related to serial numbers of Meng’s electronic devices, beyond what was recorded in her notes.

On Wednesday, Vander Graaf testified recalling that RCMP constable Gurvinder Dhaliwal mentioned the serial numbers from Meng’s devices were sent to the U.S. FBI.

Fenton accused Vander Graaf of covering for lower ranking officers when she mentioned the conversation about the handling of serial numbers of Meng’s devices by police in court but not in her affidavit.

Meng, 48, was arrested in December 2018 at Vancouver International Airport 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 from under house arrest in Vancouver. Her lawyers have claimed that abuses of process took place during her initial investigation by the Canadian border officials and arrest by the police in the airport, which violated her civil rights.

Meng’s lawyers allege that RCMP improperly shared private information about her electronic devices with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The claim includes phone and laptop serial numbers collected by the RCMP after Meng’s arrest.

He asked Vander Graaf to explain the difference in her memory, suggesting one was untrue.

Vander Graaf said the affidavit reflected her recollection in 2019. “My affidavit was true at the time,” she said. “I have a recollection now.”

“I suggest you tailored your evidence to protect the RCMP,” Fenton charged.

“That is absolutely not true,” Vander Graaf replied.

Testimony in British Columbia’s Supreme Court has focused on what the defense has described as the alleged coordination between U.S. and Canadian authorities ahead of Meng’s arrest. Her lawyers have claimed that authorities used the additional investigative powers CBSA to interrogate Meng without a lawyer present, and extract identifying details of her electronic devices to pass to U.S. authorities.

CBSA officials previously testified they noted down Meng’s device passcodes as a matter of process and mistakenly gave them to the RCMP.

Witnesses from the CBSA and RCMP have testified over almost three weeks on the events surrounding Meng’s detention and arrest. Witness testimony is set to last until Friday, with the potential for two to three more days scheduled in December.

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