Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei, is pictured in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, Monday, January 20, 2020 in this court sketch. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jane Wolsak

Allegations against Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou not fraud in Canada: defence

Meng is accused of lying to HSBC about Huawei’s relationship with an Iran-based subsidiary

A lawyer for Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou says she should not be extradited to the United States to face fraud charges because her alleged misconduct doesn’t amount to fraud in Canada.

Scott Fenton told a British Columbia Supreme Court judge on the second day of Meng’s extradition hearing that people can’t be convicted of fraud in Canada unless their misrepresentations cause harm or a risk of harm.

Meng is accused of lying to HSBC about a Huawei subsidiary’s business in Iran, putting the bank at risk of criminal and civil penalties for violating American sanctions.

Fenton says Canada does not have similar sanctions against Iran and therefore it’s impossible to prove a fraud case against Meng because the bank would not have faced any risk in Canada.

The hearing in Vancouver this week is focused on the legal test of double criminality, meaning that Meng’s alleged conduct must also be illegal in Canada for her to be extradited to the United States.

The case has severely strained Canada-China relations, with Beijing calling the charges “political” and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland urging the release of two detained Canadians.

Canada lifted sanctions against Iran in 2016 after world powers reached a nuclear deal with the country. The U.S. withdrew from the deal in 2018 and imposed sanctions again while also adding new penalties.

Fenton says the only risk HSBC faced was in the United States because of its “peculiar” sanctions that are “out of step” with Canada and the rest of the international community.

“The risk of loss is driven by legal risk — legal risk that only exists in the United States of America,” he says.

He also argues that HSBC faced no risk in Canada because the country would not impose criminal fines against an “innocent victim” of fraud, which the bank would be in this alleged scenario.

Meng denies the allegations and is free on bail and living in one of her two multimillion-dollar homes in Vancouver. The judge has allowed her to sit behind her lawyers at a desk, rather than in the prisoner’s box, so she and her Mandarin interpreter can better follow proceedings.

China has detained Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor for over a year without access to lawyers or their families and has restricted some Canadian commodity imports in actions widely seen as retaliation.

If B.C. Supreme Court Justice Heather Holmes decides the legal test of double criminality has not been met, Meng will be free to leave Canada. But if Holmes finds there is double criminality, the hearing will proceed to a second phase.

That phase, scheduled for June, will consider defence allegations that Canadian and American authorities conspired to conduct a “covert criminal investigation” at Vancouver’s airport during her arrest in 2018.

Lawyers for the attorney general deny those allegations and argue that the defence’s focus on sanctions is a “complete red herring.” They say Meng’s alleged lies to HSBC are sufficient to prove a fraud case in Canada.

READ MORE: Meng’s lawyer argues at extradition hearing that fraud allegations are ‘facade’

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

CGL must revise impact assessment on Unist’ot’en Healing Center

Environmental Assessment Office not satisfied with report’s shortcomings

Vandals cause damage estimated at $3,000

“It was just malicious, stupid, drunken behaviour” - Thwaites

Confusion surrounds terms of RCMP withdrawal from pipeline construction area

B.C. Deputy Commissioner clarifies terms of agreement following minister’s statements

Stop checks, searches of Wet’suwet’en pipeline opposers unlawful: Watchdog

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs file complaint

Wet’suwet’en pipeline supporters speak up

“Protesters get one side of the story and they stand up with their fists in the air.”

VIDEO: Behind the scenes of turning newspapers into digital archives

Kelowna Capital News donated materials dating from 1980 to 2000

Landlord ordered to pay $11K after harassing B.C. mom to move days after giving birth

Germaine Valdez was pressured to move just a few days after giving birth by C-section to her child

Heart attacks strike B.C. husband and wife just over one year apart

Courtenay couple share personal stories to bring awareness to heart month

‘Nothing surprises us anymore:’ U.S. border officials find brain in package

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents found the brain packed in a glass mason jar in a Canada Post shipment

B.C., Ottawa sign sweeping 30-year deal for northern caribou habitat

West Moberly, Saulteau co-manage new protection on two million acres

Eyes on police after Trudeau orders blockades torn down, injunctions enforced

The RCMP in B.C. have sent a letter to the traditional leaders of the Wet’suwet’en Nation

B.C. massage therapist suspended following allegations of sexual misconduct

While suspended, Leonard Krekic is not entitled to practice as an RMT in B.C.

Cheapest in B.C.: Penticton gas prices dip below $1 per litre

Two stores in Penticton have gas below a dollar.

Loans or gifts? Judge rules woman must pay B.C. man back $7K

B.C. judge rules that woman must pay back more than $7,000 in advanced funds to man

Most Read