(Reuters) – Canada’s border security agency admitted making an “error” while sharing passcodes of phones belonging to Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou with Canadian federal police, according to document filed as part of a hearing in a British Columbia court.
FILE PHOTO: Huawei Technologies Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou leaves her home to appear in British Columbia supreme court for a hearing, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada September 30, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson
Meng, 47, was arrested at a Vancouver airport on Dec. 1 at the request of the United States, where she is charged with bank fraud and accused of misleading the bank HSBC about Huawei Technologies Co Ltd’s business in Iran. She has said she is innocent and is fighting extradition.
An email submitted to the British Columbia Supreme Court on Tuesday says “the passcodes were provided in error and could not be disclosed as evidence nor used to access any of Ms Meng’s devices.”
Meng’s lawyers are demanding emails, notes and other records to support their case that Meng’s rights were violated before her arrest. They wrapped up their arguments last week, saying Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) had originally planned to board Meng’s flight once it landed in Vancouver and arrest her.
They noted that the warrant called for immediate arrest. However, that plan changed after a meeting between border and police officials, although the reasons for the change were not clear and, they said, resulted in Meng’s constitutional rights being violated.
If Canadian officials abused their authority, her lawyers say, the extradition proceedings should be halted.
The email from a representative of the Canada Border Services Agency further says that the RCMP confirmed they did not access the devices, and do not intend to access the devices at any time as it was “not their investigation.”
Lawyers for Canada’s attorney general are set continue their oral arguments on behalf of the United States in the British Columbia courtroom Wednesday.
In their filing last week, they said the Crown already provided extensive documents to Meng, and that contacts between U.S. and Canadian authorities under such circumstances are encouraged.
Oral arguments by counsel for the Canadian attorney general are scheduled to run through Friday this week but could end earlier.
The extradition proceeding itself is scheduled to begin in January and experts say legal wrangling could go on for years.
Writing by Denny Thomas; Editing by Giles Elgood