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

Local cat rescue organization hit by camera theft

“Someone is taking from an organization trying to help cats who are surviving in the wild.”

Fundraising conference, concert on deck for Comox Valley Transition Society

Women Who Inspire Conference and Concert at Filberg Centre March 1

Changes recommended for four Comox Valley schools to ease capacity

Possible measures include cross-boundary transfer closures, modular buildings

North Island College students serving up food and wine at 40 Knots

North Island College tourism and hospitality and culinary students teaming up with… Continue reading

MARS Wildlife Rescue gets help from local children

The new Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society (MARS) visitor centre in Merville has… Continue reading

Pipeline dispute: Tories put no-confidence motion on House of Commons agenda

Conservatives say they have no confidence in the Trudeau government to end the rail blockades

Comox Valley Beefs & Bouquets for week of Feb. 18

More beefs to the tip-expecting server; a bouquet to BC Transit

Original Victoria Clipper vessel sails one last time

Vessel sold to buyers in Gabon, Central Africa

B.C.’s soda drink tax will help kids lose weight, improve health, says doctor

Dr. Tom Warshawski says studies show sugary drinks contribute to obesity

A&W employees in Ladysmith get all-inclusive vacation for 10 years of service

Kelly Frenchy, Katherine Aleck, and Muriel Jack are headed on all-expenses-paid vacations

B.C. mom’s complaint about ‘R word’ in children’s ministry email sparks review

In 2020, the ‘R’ word shouldn’t be used, Sue Robins says

Two new hybrid BC Ferries ships christened with new names in Victoria ceremony

Island Aurora and Island Discovery will service Gulf Island and North Island routes

B.C., federal ministers plead for meeting Wet’suwet’en dissidents

Scott Fraser, Carolyn Bennett says they can be in Smithers Thursday

Province shows no interest in proposed highway between Alberta and B.C.

Province says it will instead focus on expanding the Kicking Horse Canyon to four lanes

Most Read