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US Effort to Bar Huawei’s Prime Lawyer Goes to Court

A former U.S. Justice Department delegate who now represents Huawei Technologies is required to be present in Brooklyn federal court Wednesday to defend his right to represent the Chinese firm in opposition to U.S. claims of bank fraud and sanctions violations.

U.S. prosecutors claim prime Huawei lawyer James Cole’s prior work as the No. 2 delegate in the Justice Department developed “irresolvable disputes” that invalidate him as counsel for Huawei in the case.

As deputy attorney general, Cole supervised and took part in parts of a probe related to the Huawei case.

Cole claims he is not aware of matters referenced as the basis for him to be excluded from the case, in line with another court filing.

Prosecutors will ask to close the courtroom for portions of debates involving classified information, based on a letter to the judge on Tuesday.

The case against Huawei, the world’s largest telecommunications gear maker, has been a point of contention between Washington and Beijing as the world’s two most significant economic powers engage in an escalating trade battle.

The company’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of Huawei’s founder, was held in December in Canada at the request of the US for allegedly misleading banks about the firm’s business in Iran, putting them at risk of breaking U.S. penalties.

The indictment accuses Huawei and Meng of conspiring to defraud global banks by misrepresenting Huawei’s connection with Skycom Tech, an organization that functioned in Iran.

Prosecutors said the four banks helped arrange billions of dollars in loans to Huawei between August 2013 and November 2017.

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