Meng Wanzhou believes that safety specifics put her at risk of contracting COVID-19.
Head of security company responsible for guarding Meng says that Huawei executive breaches guidelines
In a B.C. on Monday, Meng Wanzhou launched an effort to loosen her bail restrictions. Supreme Court hearing, which gave a peek into the privileged pandemic lifestyle of the Huawei executive under 24-hour surveillance as she awaits extradition proceedings.
The 48-year-old, who has survived thyroid cancer and has hypertension, says she is at increased risk of catching COVID-19 by the changing roster of security guards who follow her everywhere during daylight hours.
The two-day hearing pits Meng, Chief Financial Officer of Huawei, against the head of the corporation that the court is charged with preventing her from leaving Canada pending a verdict in her extradition case.
Doug Maynard, President of Lions Gate Risk Management, said he thinks Meng is still at risk of being extracted by a foreign government and threatened by organized crime.
"We believe that the risk for some of those factors is actually rising," Maynard said.
"We're now two years on into this matter, and I would argue that because the opportunities are less frequent, the risk for that highest risk factor has actually risen somewhat."
Charged with deceit, plot
Since December 2018, when a judge released her from institutional detention awaiting extradition proceedings, Meng has been living under the same collection of bail conditions.
In New York, she is accused of fraud and collusion in connection with charges she lied to an HSBC executive about the control by Huawei of a corporation accused of breaching U.S. economic sanctions.
U.S. prosecutors say that the suspected misrepresentations of Meng put the bank at risk of failure and in managing Huawei's financial transactions, HSBC will breach the same collection of sanctions.
Meng, the daughter of the billionaire founder of Huawei, wears a GPS ankle tracking bracelet and is confined from 11 p.m. to her house. Towards 6 a.m. Only every day. But during the day, she is allowed to ride around the Lower Mainland alongside guards, for which she pays.
In apparent breach of rules, quarantining together
The first witness at the recent hearing was her husband.
Liu Xiazong reported that the constant presence of guards prevented his family from spending quality time together at the center of the high-profile international court case without attracting the attention of strangers eager to photograph the woman.
Under cross-examination, Liu agreed that nothing in the bail conditions stopped Meng from going with her two children to malls, coffee shops and grocery stores.
He also confirmed that Meng stayed with him while quarantined at their Vancouver mansion after arriving in Canada on a flight from Hong Kong last fall, amid her confessed fears about catching the coronavirus.
When they flew to Canada before Christmas, the same was true for their children.
Canada's laws state that if you can not isolate yourself from those with whom you work, you should avoid quarantine at home.
'We get sick if she gets sick'
Maynard, who was a Crown witness, said he and his team were as worried about COVID-19 as they were about Meng and her family.
He said that he had repeatedly expressed concern about Meng and her entourage's actions during the pandemic.
"If she gets sick, we get sick," said Maynard.
"I want to be careful not to be construed as the COVID police. We're there to ensure that our client is enforcing or adhering to the guidelines, because it's for their health and their safety protection, as well as our staff."
Maynard said Meng has mixed her household bubble with the bubble of professionals, including Huawei workers and Chinese consular staff, who surround her.
He said they had gatherings of around 10 people in the past three months, where food and wine were shared in a restaurant closed for the occasion.
Meng has also had regular downtown trips for "private shopping" Maynard said, where high-end stores in Vancouver shut their doors for her.
Photo of the CBC entered into evidence
Most of the evidence concerned an image taken last May by CBC photographer Ben Nelms of what was meant to be a covert photo shoot with Meng's entourage on the steps of the courthouse prior to the publication of a court ruling that could have terminated the case.
In the event of a win on the issue of double crime, the participants gave thumbs-up and flashed peace signs for a victory picture, the idea that the alleged offense of Meng will have to be a crime for extradition to go ahead in both Canada and the U.S.
None of them wore masks or distanced themselves physically.
Crown attorney John Gibb-Carsley asked Meng's husband to count the 11 individuals in the photograph during the bail hearing.
"Does seeing this photo concern you that your wife, Ms. Meng, is not following protocols by being this close to others?" said the Crown lawyer.
"I don't exactly know what was the COVID-19 regulations in that time in British Columbia," Liu said.
He disapproved of the photo shoot, Maynard said. The CBC heard of the event and, concealed from view, Nelms and a reporter watched from across the street. The photograph was flashed the next week around the world.
Maynard said that during the brief shoot, his workers observed a number of passersby taking photos, and that they also noticed people who seemed to be taking pictures from the kitty-corner sidewalk to the courthouse.
After the news broke by the CBC, Maynard said his workers compared the perspective of the spot where the entourage of Meng took their picture to that of the image of Nelms to confirm their doubts about a photographer and reporter's potential presence.
Gibb-Carsley also announced that if she won last May, a China Southern Boeing 777 will be privately chartered to carry Meng back to China immediately.
He said the Chinese consulate representatives were involved in making arrangements to charter the aircraft, which can hold up to 368 people and has ample fuel capacity to make the non-stop journey to China.
Violations of Privileges
The extradition proceeding itself is scheduled to begin at the beginning of March and to continue until the end of April in various stages.
The first phase of the trial would include an attempt by the defense to get the case dismissed due to suspected violations of the rights of Meng.
Her attorneys argue that she is being used by the United States as a political pawn. President Donald Trump and the Canada Border Services Agency and RCMP are also alleged to have conspired with the U.S. To refuse her access to a lawyer at the time of her arrest by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The defense also argues that Canada was intentionally misled by the U.S. about the strength of the Meng case and is going outside its authority to punish it.
A measure of the strength of the extradition request itself would be the final part of the proceedings.