Huawei CFO seeks order for Canada to release secret documents

Natalie Obiko Pearson

Huawei Technologies Co.’s chief financial officer is seeking a court order that would force the Canadian government to release documents that it is withholding on national security grounds.

Defense lawyers for Meng Wanzhou argued during a federal court hearing in Ottawa Monday that previous disclosures, which showed the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Canada’s spy agency communicated prior to her 2018 arrest, were too heavily redacted.

“It is likely that there is further information under the redactions relevant to her abuse of process allegations,” Meng’s defense team said in a court filing.

Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei, leaves her home to go to B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, Wednesday, January 22, 2020.

The defense is proposing that Anil Kapoor, a Toronto-based lawyer cleared by the government to conduct national security litigation, be allowed to review the evidence and represent Meng’s interests in closed hearings set to begin on Thursday.

Meng is seeking to have a Canadian court dismiss a U.S. extradition request, arguing that her arrest was conducted unlawfully. She accuses Canada of “coordinated state misconduct,” saying police, border officials and the FBI worked together in secret as authorities questioned her for hours and obtained passwords to her electronic devices before formally charging her.

She seeks additional documents from the spy agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, as well as more details on what role it and the FBI played during her December 2018 arrest at Vancouver International Airport on a U.S. extradition request.

In its latest filing, the defense suggests Meng’s arrest was closely coordinated between the FBI and the Canadian agencies. The FBI was likely monitoring Meng before she boarded her Cathay Pacific flight in Hong Kong because it was able to provide a description of what she was wearing to Canadian police, the defense said.

Canada’s spy agency also got detailed information on how her arrest was being planned and that it would involve a “multi-hour delay” during which border officials would detain, search and interrogate before arresting her, the filing said.