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Meng Wanzhou's lawyers skewer RCMP's denial it colluded with FBI

ملفات اخبار العرب24-كندا: Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou leaves her house on her way to court in Vancouver. Her lawyers claim Canadian and American authorities colluded against her. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

Meng Wanzhou's legal team has accused RCMP officers of providing "boilerplate" responses and conflicting information in their denials of accusations that investigators unlawfully shared the Huawei CFO's phone information with the FBI.

In documents released Thursday, Meng's lawyers claim police have done little to prove they didn't share electronic serial numbers and SIM card information with their American counterparts in violation of the Extradition Act.

"The new evidence does little to detract from this submission, and in fact, arguably supports it," Meng's legal team said in submissions filed in B.C. Supreme Court.

"The bald, boilerplate denials contained in the affidavits appear contrary to the contemporaneous records which had been previously disclosed, and even contrary to new emails and notes."

Questions left hanging

The new documents relate to questions left hanging at the end of a hearing in early October in which Meng's lawyers sought access to documents they claim will prove she was the victim of collusion by the Canada Border Services Agency, the RCMP and FBI.

Meng was arrested at Vancouver International Airport on Dec. 1, 2018 on a U.S. extradition warrant.

She is accused of allegedly misleading banks about Huawei's relationship with a hidden subsidiary accused of attempting to sell U.S. telecommunications equipment in Tehran.

Meng Wanzhou, who is out on bail and remains under partial house arrest, wears an electronic monitoring bracelet as she leaves her home to attend a court hearing. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

American prosecutors claim Meng's alleged lies put the banks which cleared transactions for Huawei at risk of violating U.S. sanctions against Iran.

The 47-year-old has denied the allegations, and her lawyers plan to argue her rights were violated during the time border agents detained and questioned her in the three hours before Meng was officially arrested by RCMP.

Technical information shared?

Meng's electronic devices took centre stage in the final days of the hearing.

CBSA officers seized them within minutes of her stepping off the plane, using bags provided by the FBI to prevent the devices from being remotely wiped.

Her phones, laptop and tablet were all later handed to police, who were in contact with the FBI in the days after her arrest.

This phone was one of two seized from Meng Wanzhou when she landed at Vancouver's airport in December 2018. CBSA officers asked her for the passcodes and later passed the codes on to the RCMP. (B.C. Supreme Court)

The Crown revealed that border officers mistakenly provided RCMP with the passcodes to Meng's devices, but claimed police never accessed the contents.

But Meng's lawyers accused the RCMP of sharing technical information about her phones with the FBI.

They claimed the details could have allowed the Americans to determine information about Meng's movements, calls and text messages.

In particular, they pointed to a note written by RCMP Sgt, Janice Vander Graaf on Dec. 12, 2018 — 11 days after Meng's arrest — in which she said that an officer who reported to her had said that another staff sergeant had provided electronic serial number information to the FBI.

'No independent knowledge or recollection'

At the end of October, B.C. Supreme Court Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes told lawyers for the Attorney General to get affidavits from officers that the Crown claimed would prove the information was not shared.

The Crown filed the affidavits, but the defence claims they "raise many more questions than answers."

The CBSA seized Meng's phones when she arrived in Vancouver and later passed them on to the RCMP. Her lawyers claim the RCMP shared technical information about the devices with the FBI. (B.C. Supreme Court)

In particular, they point to Vander Graaf's assertion that she has "no independent knowledge or recollection" of the information that her notes indicated the other officer had given her.

The officer in question said that to the best of his "knowledge and recollection" he didn't tell Vander Graaf or anyone else that the technical information had been shared.

And the staff sergeant who was alleged to have shared the information with FBI said that he didn't share any information with the FBI or other U.S. authorities about Meng's electronic devices — "including identifying details."

Meng's lawyers claim that Vander Graaf didn't repudiate the note she made in December or say she was mistaken in what she wrote.

They also claim that it "is not credible that Vander Graaf, and all of the other RCMP affiants, fail to have any recollection of the relevant events, even where the emails explicitly chronicle the events that were occurring."

And they say that no note, report, email or document from the days after Meng's arrest has been disclosed indicating that the technical information was not shared — or why it wouldn't have been.

'No air of reality'

In a letter filed to the B.C. Supreme Court last week, lawyers for Canada's attorney general say Meng's lawyers have failed to establish any collusion.

"There is no air of reality to this or any other allegations of abuse raised," the Crown lawyers wrote.

"In any event, the allegations could not result in the most drastic of remedies, a stay of proceedings. Even if the Information were shared with the FBI (which is not admitted, but denied) such sharing would not be unlawful."

Holmes isn't expected to deliver a ruling on the application for document access for several months.

In the meantime, both Meng's lawyers and the Crown are preparing for her actual extradition hearing in January 2020.

Later this month, the court is expected to consider an application by various media to broadcast parts of that hearing.

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