Judge Upholds Majority of Canada’s Privilege Claims in Huawei CFO’s Extradition Case

Judge Upholds Majority of Canada’s Privilege Claims in Huawei CFO’s Extradition Case
Huawei Technologies Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou leaves her home to attend a court hearing in Vancouver, B.C., on Sept. 28, 2020. (REUTERS/Jennifer Gauthier/File Photo)

A judge has upheld the majority of Canada’s privilege claims over documents sought by lawyers for Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou in her U.S. extradition case, Canada’s justice department said late on Thursday.

In August Meng’s lawyers argued for the release of more confidential documents relating to her December 2018 arrest in Vancouver, including emails between Canadian and American authorities, to support their claim that her rights were violated by the authorities.

Lawyers representing David Lametti, Canada’s justice minister and attorney general, had handed over some documents requested by Meng’s lawyers, but have declined to release additional documents claiming solicitor-client and litigation privilege.

The Canadian Department of Justice said in a statement that Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes of the British Columbia Supreme Court “upheld a majority of Canada’s privilege claims.”

“Canada respects the decision... and the court process that led to this decision,” the statement added.

Meng was arrested in Vancouver, British Columbia on a warrant from the United States, charging her with bank fraud for allegedly misleading HSBC on Huawei’s business dealings in Iran and causing the bank to break U.S. sanctions.

She has said she is innocent and is fighting extradition while under house arrest in Vancouver.

Huawei lawyers were also denied access to related documents by a federal court ruling that came down in Canada’s favour in August. Government lawyers had argued that releasing the documents would threaten national security and a federal judge agreed, saying the information requested was not relevant to Meng’s arrest.

Huawei did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The text of the decision was not immediately available from the B.C. Supreme Court.

Meng is set to next appear in court on Oct. 26, as hearings continue over whether Canadian and American authorities committed abuses of process while arresting her. The extradition hearings are expected to last until April 2021.

By Moira Warburton
From Reuters