OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada’s attorney general says accusations that former U.S. President Donald Trump’s interfered in Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou’s extradition trial is irrelevant because he is no longer in office.
Meng is facing charges of bank fraud in the United States over misleading HSBC about Huawei’s business dealings in Iran, causing the bank to violate U.S. sanctions.
She has been under house arrest in Vancouver, Canada, since her arrest at the airport there in December 2018 and is fighting extradition in the British Columbia Supreme Court.
In an interview with Reuters 10 days after Meng’s arrest, Trump said he would intervene in the Justice Department’s case against Meng if it served national security interests or helped close a trade deal with China.
Meng’s lawyers have argued that Trump’s statements compromised the fairness of the extradition proceedings.
Canadian lawyers said in documents filed ahead of hearings scheduled for next month that such an argument was “moot”.
“The facts on which it is based – statements by a president no longer in office, about a possible intervention in this case that never occurred, purportedly to achieve a trade deal that has long since been successfully negotiated – have no past, present or prospective impact on these proceedings.”
A Huawei spokesman had no immediate comment.
Meng’s arrest caused tensions between Beijing and Ottawa, and soon afterward, China detained two Canadians, who continue to have limited access to legal counsel or diplomatic officials.
Meng is set to next appear in court on March 1 for the last stage of her extradition hearings, which are scheduled to finish in May. There is an administrative hearing for her case on Friday.
(Reporting by Steve Scherer in Ottawa and Moira Warburton in Vancouver. Editing by Gerry Doyle)