December 9, 2020
By Sarah Berman
VANCOUVER (Reuters) – A Canadian border official who testified about “very persistent” information requests from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation after Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou was arrested two years ago will face more questions from Meng’s lawyers in court on Wednesday.
Meng, 48, was arrested on Dec. 1, 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.
Her lawyers have argued that U.S. and Canadian authorities coordinated ahead of her arrest, using the extended investigative powers of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to interrogate her without a lawyer present before her arrest by the Canadian federal police and passing the details of her electronic devices to U.S. officials.
Prosecutors are trying to establish that Meng’s arrest and the investigation by the border officials followed appropriate procedures.
Nicole Goodman, chief of passenger operations for the Canadian Border Service Agency (CBSA), told the court on Tuesday that a legal attache for the FBI based in Ottawa was “very persistent” in requesting information about CBSA’s interrogation of Meng and her travel history in Canada.
Goodman said she was not authorized to share the information.
“I would never be releasing information to the FBI at my level,” she said.
The final week of witness testimony in the British Columbia Supreme Court comes amid news last week that U.S. prosecutors are discussing a deal with lawyers for Meng to resolve criminal charges against her, signaling a potential end to a case that has strained ties between the United States, China and Canada.
China arrested Canadian citizens Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig on espionage charges days later.
Meng’s extradition hearing is expected to wrap up in April 2021.
(Reporting by Sarah Berman in Vancouver and Moira Warburton in Toronto; Editing by Denny Thomas and Stephen Coates)
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