The 48-year-old – who is a thyroid cancer survivor and suffers from high blood pressure – says changing roster of security guards who accompany her everywhere during the day puts her at increased risk of catching COVID-19. The two-day hearing pits Meng, Huawei’s chief financial officer, against the head of the company charged by the court with preventing him from fleeing Canada pending a decision in his extradition case.
Lions Gate’s chairman of risk management Doug Maynard said he believed Meng was still at risk of being extracted by a foreign government and targeted by organized crime.
“We believe the risk for some of these factors is increasing,” Maynard said.
“We’ve been in this business for two years now, and I would say that because the opportunities are less frequent, the risk for this highest risk factor has actually increased somewhat. ”
Quarantine together in apparent violation of guidelines
Meng has been living under the same set of bail conditions since December 2018, when a judge released her from institutional detention pending extradition proceedings.
She is accused in New York of fraud and conspiracy in connection with allegations that she lied to an HSBC executive about Huawei control of a company accused of violating U.S. economic sanctions.
U.S. prosecutors say Meng’s claims of misrepresentation put the bank at risk of loss, as HSBC would violate the same set of sanctions by processing Huawei’s financial transactions.
Meng wears a GPS ankle monitoring bracelet and is confined to her home from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily. But she is allowed to travel the Lower Mainland alongside guards – for whom she pays – during the day.
Her husband was the first witness.
Liu Xiazong claimed that the constant presence of guards prevented his family from spending quality time together without attracting the attention of strangers keen to photograph the woman at the center of the high-profile case before the International Court.
In cross-examination, he admitted that nothing in the bail conditions actually prevents Meng from going to malls, cafes, and grocery stores with their two children.
He also admitted that – despite his avowed concerns about the coronavirus catching – Meng was living with him as he quarantined himself alongside him at their Vancouver mansion after arriving in Canada on a flight from Hong Kong. last fall.
The same goes for their children when they left for Canada before Christmas.
Canada’s guidelines say you should avoid quarantining yourself at home if you can’t separate yourself from those you live with.
‘If she gets sick, we get sick’
Maynard, who was a Crown witness, said COVID-19 was as much of a concern to him and his staff as it was to Meng and his family.
He said he has repeatedly expressed his concern about the behavior of Meng and those around him during the pandemic.
“If she gets sick, we get sick,” Maynard said.
“I want to be careful not to be interpreted as the COVID police. We are here to make sure our client is following or adhering to the guidelines because it is for their health and safety protection as well as for our staff. ”
Maynard said Meng mingled his domestic bubble with the bubble of professionals around him, including Huawei employees and Chinese consulate staff.
He said they had had gatherings in the past three months of around ten people where food and wine were shared in a restaurant closed for the occasion.
And Meng has had frequent trips downtown for so-called “private shopping” where high-end Vancouver retailers are closing their doors for the daughter of the billionaire founder of Huawei.
CBC photo enters evidence
Much of the testimony concerned a photo taken by CBC photographer Ben Nelms of what was supposed to be a clandestine photoshoot on the steps of the courthouse last May, before the release of a court ruling that could have put end to the case.
Participants raised their thumbs and displayed peace signs for a victory over victory image on the issue of double jeopardy – the concept that Meng’s alleged offense should be a crime in Canada and the States – United for extradition to continue. .
None of them wore a mask or were physically distant.
Gibb Carsley asked Liu to count the 11 people in the photo.
“Does seeing this photo worry you that your wife, Ms. Meng, is breaking protocols by being so close to others?” The crown attorney said.
“I’m not sure exactly what the COVID-19 regulations were at the time in British Columbia,” Liu said.
Maynard said he disapproved of the photoshoot. The CBC learned of the event and Nelms and a reporter watched him across the street from view. The photograph was released worldwide the following week.
Maynard said his staff identified Nelms and the CBC reporter as a possible problem during filming and confirmed their suspicions after the story aired.
Gibb-Carsley also revealed that a China Southern Boeing 777 was privately chartered to bring Meng back to China immediately if she won last May.
He said members of the Chinese consulate were involved in the arrangements to charter the plane, which can carry up to 368 people and has sufficient capacity to make the non-stop trip to China.
The actual extradition procedure is expected to start at the beginning of March and continue in stages until the end of April.
The first part of the proceedings will involve an offer by the defense to have the case dismissed due to alleged violations of Meng’s rights.
Her lawyers claim she is being used as a political pawn by US President Donald Trump and they also claim that the Canada Border Services Agency and the RCMP conspired with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation at the time of her arrest. to deny him access to a lawyer.
The defense also claims that the United States deliberately misled Canada about the strength of the evidence against Meng and goes beyond its jurisdiction to punish her.
The final part of the procedure will be a test of the strength of the extradition request itself.