Meng Wanzhou chief financial officer of Huawei is surrounded by security as she leaves B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, Wednesday, January, 22, 2020. Wanzhou is in court for hearings over an American request to extradite the executive of the Chinese telecom giant Huawei on fraud charges. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

‘The court is being embarrassed’: Meng lawyers say Crown changed argument

The United States has charged Meng with fraud over allegations she lied to HSBC

A lawyer for Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou says the Crown has changed its arguments, telling a judge who issued an arrest warrant one thing and another to the justice who will rule on the extradition.

A British Columbia Supreme Court hearing wrapped today, focusing on the legal test of double criminality, or whether the conduct Meng is accused of would also be a crime in Canada.

The United States has charged her with fraud over allegations she lied to HSBC about Huawei’s relationship with an Iran-based subsidiary, putting the bank at risk of violating American sanctions.

The defence says the alleged lie would not have put HSBC at financial risk in Canada because the country has no sanctions against Iran, but the Crown argued the bank faced reputational risk that could have led to economic harm.

Meng’s lawyer Scott Fenton says the Crown’s arguments before a judge issuing an arrest warrant in 2018 and in court documents all focus on the risk of violating American sanctions, even when discussing reputational risk.

He says the Crown is now speculating that HSBC could have lost business relationships if it was revealed to be doing business with Iran, regardless of sanctions, and this marks a change in its arguments.

“Milady, in my submission this is wrong. The court is being embarrassed,” Fenton told Justice Heather Holmes.

Meng’s arrest in December 2018 at Vancouver’s airport set off a diplomatic uproar with Beijing detaining two Canadians and restricting some imports in moves widely viewed as retaliation.

She denies the allegations and is free on bail, living in one of her two multimillion-dollar homes in Vancouver.

Holmes reserved her decision after the defence concluded its reply Thursday.

If the judge rules the legal test has been met, then the hearing will proceed to a second phase in June, but if she finds there is no double criminality, Meng will be free to leave Canada.

Her lawyers argued earlier this week that fraud must involve harm or risk of harm, but HSBC wouldn’t have faced any consequences in Canada for doing business in Iran because of the lack of sanctions.

Crown counsel Robert Frater said Wednesday that the judge does not necessarily need to consider American sanctions law for the allegations to amount to fraud in Canada.

HSBC faced significant reputational risk for processing Iran-related transactions because it had already been penalized for doing business in countries including Libya and Sudan, the Crown said.

The Crown also argued that the judge can, according to case law, consider the context of American sanctions in a limited way to understand the risk faced by HSBC.

READ MORE: Fraud case against Meng is straightforward, Crown argues at extradition hearing

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kitimat LNG Canada worker tests positive for COVID-19

The company announced the positive case to its workers on March 28

Bachrach to donate salary hike to community organizations

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP among growing list of MPs giving raise away amid economic crisis

Coast Mountain College sets up student emergency fund

It’ll provide grocery store gift cards for students affected by COVID-19 crisis

Northern Health moves reefer unit to Mills Memorial

The move is not related to COVID-19

Trudeau rejects mandatory stay-at-home order for now; COVID deaths up

The virus has now infected more than 10,000 Canadians and cost 130 their lives

B.C. health care workers gain access to virtual health care options

During COVID-19 many clinics have closed, leaving health care workers with nowhere to turn

Tax collectors, auditors to help field ‘historic’ numbers of benefit-seeking callers

‘If you work for CRA, people think we are just there to take money from your pockets.’

Cowichan couple won’t self-isolate after returning from overseas

New law requires 14 days of self-isolation when returning to Canada

Family uses social media to help truckers find places to eat during pandemic

Restaurants Serving Drivers in Western Canada seeks to provide a list of places open for drivers

Advocates sound alarm over COVID-19 limiting access to contraceptives, abortion

The COVID-19 outbreak has hit sexual-health services from almost every angle

Celebrate Easter in a ‘safe way,’ Dr. Henry urges as B.C records 6 new COVID-19 deaths

Top doctor urges British Columbians to halt non-essential travel within the province

B.C. health officer says homemade masks may prevent spread of COVID-19 to others

Practising physical distancing, frequent hand washing and resisting touching your face are proven methods

Most Read