Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 11 December 2019

Huawei's CFO files lawsuit against Canadian authorities for wrongful detention

Daughter of Huawei's founder is 'seeking damages for misfeasance in public office and false imprisonment'

Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou leaves her home to attend a court appearance in Vancouver. AP
Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou leaves her home to attend a court appearance in Vancouver. AP

The chief financial officer of Chinese telecoms company Huawei, Meng Wanzhou, has filed a lawsuit against Canadian authorities alleging she has been wrongfully detained and her constitutional rights have been violated, her lawyers said on Sunday.

Her arrest and imprisonment has set off a diplomatic standoff between Canada and its ally the United States against China.

Ms Meng is "seeking damages for misfeasance in public office and false imprisonment" following her arrest at Vancouver International Airport on December 1, attorneys Howard Mickelson and Allan Doolittle said in a statement received by The National.

The suit was filed March 1 in the Supreme Court of British Columbia against the Canadian Border Services Agency, a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer and the Canadian government.

Ms Meng, 47, the daughter of Huawei's founder, was making a connecting flight in Vancouver on her way to Mexico when she was detained at the US Justice Department's request on suspicion of violating US sanctions on Iran – sparking arrests of Canadians in China that were seen as retaliatory.

Court documents allege that a police officer and several border guards searched and interrogated Ms Meng "under the guise" of a routine customs or immigration case, and used “that opportunity to unlawfully compel her to provide evidence and information” as well as to confiscate her two cellphones, an iPad and a personal computer. They also convinced her to share her passwords. It alleges law enforcement intentionally delayed arresting her under the warrant for three hours in order to avoid affording Ms Meng her constitutional rights.

The lawsuit was filed the same day Canada began extradition proceedings of Ms Meng to the US, which alleges she deceived banks to trick them into processing transactions for Huawei that potentially violated trade sanctions on Iran and stole trade secrets from T-Mobile. The filing comes as China’s largest tech company ramps up efforts to refute accusations that it aids Beijing in espionage, including criticising the US for its own surveillance programmes and granting interviews with its reclusive chief executive.

Ms Meng was released on parole in mid-December in Vancouver, where she owns two residences, on a bond deposit of C$10 million (Dh27.6m), wearing a tracking device and surrendering her passports.

She is set to appear before a Vancouver judge next Wednesday where an extradition hearing will be scheduled.

Huawei has firmly denied any wrongdoing.

Updated: March 5, 2019 01:08 AM

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