Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, has filed suit against the Canadian authorities for violating her constitutional rights when she was arrested in Vancouver, her lawyers said Sunday.
The 47-year-old suffered “serious breaches of her constitutional rights” and is “seeking damages for misfeasance in public office and false imprisonment” when detained at Vancouver International Airport on December 1, attorneys Howard Mickelson and Allan Doolittle said in a statement.
The businesswoman was changing planes in Vancouver when she was arrested at Washington’s request on suspicion of violating US sanctions on Iran – sparking arrests of Canadians in China that were viewed as retaliatory.
Her lawyers allege that Meng was interrogated under dubious conditions for three hours by the customs officers, officially as part of a routine inspection, before being officially arrested.
During those three hours, the customs officers violated her rights by searching her phones and computers as well as her luggage, her lawyers said.
The complaint was lodged Friday, the same day that Canada officially launched the process of extraditing Meng to the United States.
The US Justice Department accuses Huawei and its chief financial officer of circumventing US sanctions against Iran, but also, via two affiliates, stealing trade secrets from US telecommunications group T-Mobile.
The daughter of Huawei’s founder, Meng was released in mid-December in Vancouver, where she owns two homes, on a bond deposit of US$6.6 million. She has surrendered her passports and is wearing an electronic bracelet.
She is scheduled to appear before a Vancouver judge next Wednesday “to confirm that a writ of court has been issued and to schedule a date for the extradition hearing,” the Canadian court has explained.
The extradition procedure can take months or even years because of the many appeal possibilities.
China is outraged by the US charges against Meng, saying they are the product of “strong political motivations” and an attempt to undermine its flagship telecoms company.
Huawei has vehemently denied any wrongdoing.
– with reporting by Agence France-Presse