TORONTO • Canada’s intelligence agency warned that arresting the daughter of billionaire Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei would set off global “shock waves” and seriously affect ties with China, just before her detention in Vancouver on a United States extradition request, new court documents show.
The papers, released on Friday, show the involvement of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) in the December 2018 arrest of Meng Wanzhou, which soured diplomatic ties between Ottawa and Beijing.
Meng is chief financial officer (CFO) of China tech giant Huawei Technologies, the company at the centre of next generation 5G wireless technology and a long-running dispute with the administration of US President Donald Trump.
A CSIS report was disclosed in the court documents as part of Meng’s extradition proceedings.
In a redacted Dec 1, 2018, memo, CSIS said it was advised by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation of plans to arrest Meng when she arrived on a flight to Vancouver International Airport that same day.
“The arrest is likely to send shock waves around the world,” CSIS said. “The planned event will be of great consequence internationally and bilaterally.” Huawei lawyers say the documents prove that the authorities had conspired against Meng.
She is accused by the US authorities of bank fraud for misleading HSBC about Huawei’s relationship with a company operating in Iran, putting the bank at risk of fines and penalties for breaking US sanctions on Teheran.
Meng’s lawyers argue that the case should be thrown out because Canada did not have sanctions against Iran. Meng says she is innocent. Last month, a Canadian judge allowed the case to continue, rejecting defence arguments that the US charges against Meng do not constitute crimes in Canada.
The new papers show the CSIS was concerned about when Meng’s arrest might become public.
Her lawyers have noted the point was of particular interest, since Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Mr Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping were attending the Group of 20 summit in Argentina and dining together on the evening of Dec 1.