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

Black History Month: Documentary sheds light on black pioneers’ role in Victoria

Secret Victoria: Rush to Freedom looks at how a mass migration shaped the capital

Saanich teen serious lawn bowler

Chambers will compete in an international tournament in Australia

Hundreds of wax figures find new life in Saanich man’s home

Former director of Victoria’s Royal London Wax Museum still hopes to revive wax figure tourism

Governor general says multiple solutions needed for ‘complicated’ overdose issue

Julie Payette met at a fire hall with firefighters and police officers as well as politicians and health experts

VIDEO: Wounded Warrior Run leaves Port Hardy on eight-day trek down Vancouver island

The team’s fundraising goal this year is $250,000, which is double last year’s goal.

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

B.C. money laundering inquiry to begin amid hopes for answers, accountability

Eby argued that most B.C. residents already know the previous government, at best, turned a blind eye

Blockades remain in place as Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs returning to B.C.

Hereditary Chief Woos said they are ready to engage in nation-to-nation talks with the B.C.

Tyler Toffoli scores twice, Canucks crush Bruins 9-3

Stecher, Miller each add three points for Vancouver

Zamboni driver, 42, earns NHL win over Maple Leafs

Emergency goalie called into action for Carolina Hurricanes

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

Most Read