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

Cache Creek council makes decision to close pool for 2020 season

Effects of COVID-19 pandemic and delinquent taxes two factors in decision

Q&A: Interior Health CEO answers questions on COVID-19 response

Susan Brown, president and CEO of Interior Health, answers questions regarding COVID-19

Easter scavenger hunt — with social distancing — coming to Ashcroft

Fun, family-friendly event will have participants hopping (safely) all over town

COVID-19 info: Yard waste accepted at TNRD Transfer Stations

Plus precautions at the Ashcroft Emergency Department, library news, bus info, and more

B.C. couple celebrates 61st anniversary through seniors’ home window

Frank and Rena Phillips marked occasion at Nanaimo Seniors Village this week while social distancing

A look at some of the B.C. inventors creating life-saving tools in fight against COVID-19

Groups across B.C. are working together to create what they hope will help people affected by the pandemic

Association launches French-language games, online tools for families learning at home

Games, culture and vocabulary included in new virtual resources

‘There can be no ambiguity’: Travellers brought home to B.C. must self-isolate

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the mandatory isolation must be abided by

Interior Health confirms five additional cases in Okanagan COVID-19 outbreak

The total amount of confirmed cases at Bylands Nurseries Ltd. is 19; no further cases expected

55+ BC Games cancelled amid COVID-19 concerns

Greater Victoria set to host 2021 event

BC Hydro offers three-month bill ‘holiday’ for those affected by COVID-19

Industrial customers can defer half of their power bills

Some April Fool’s Day jokes bring much-needed laughter; others tone deaf to COVID-19

Police are warning the public not to use the ongoing pandemic as a punchline

Canada’s 75% wage subsidy is coming, but not for several weeks: finance minister

Subsidy will cost Canada $71 billion, but push down cost of emergency benefit, Morneau said

Most Read