Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou is escorted by her private security detail while arriving at a parole office, in Vancouver, on Wednesday December 12, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

U.S. sanction law not enough to prove Canadian fraud: Meng’s lawyers

Extradition hearing next week to determine whether Meng’s case is one of ‘double criminality’

Lawyers for a Huawei executive wanted on fraud charges in the United States are accusing Crown attorneys of relying on American sanction law to make its case for extradition from Canada.

In documents released by the B.C. Supreme Court Friday, Meng Wanzhou’s lawyers say Canada has rejected similar U.S. sanction against Iran and not only permits banks to do business with Iran-based entities but encourages them to do so.

Her lawyers have said she should not be extradited because her actions wouldn’t be considered a crime in Canada.

Both sides will make their arguments to the court next week during an extradition hearing to determine whether Meng’s case is one of “double criminality,” meaning her actions were criminal in both Canada and the country requesting her extradition.

The United States alleges Meng lied about Huawei’s relationship with its Iran-based affiliate Skycom to one of its bankers, HSBC, putting the financial institution at risk of violating American sanctions.

Meng, who’s Huawei CFO, has denied the allegations and remains free on bail and living in one of her multimillion-dollar homes in Vancouver ahead of a court hearing set to begin Jan. 20.

Lawyers for Canada’s attorney general have argued Meng’s alleged conduct put HSBC at risk of economic loss and that is sufficient to make a case for fraud in Canada.

They have also previously called the focus on sanctions a “complete red herring.”

“This case is about an alleged misrepresentation made by Ms. Meng to a bank that they relied upon, and in so relying, put their economic interests at risk,” Crown prosecutor John Gibbs-Carsley said in May.

In the new documents, Meng’s team accuses the attorney general of advancing two contrary positions: that American sanctions do not need to be considered to determine whether she committed fraud, and that the sanctions are part of the foreign legal environment that gives context to the alleged misconduct.

“It is apparent that exposure to U.S. sanctions risk is a fundamental aspect of the allegation,” the documents say. “In essence, this is a case of U.S. sanction enforcement masquerading as Canadian fraud.”

The documents say that while Meng’s alleged actions could put HSBC at risk of economic deprivation in the United States, the same economic deprivation could not happen to the bank in Canada.

“It is not a crime in Canada to do something in this country that, if done in the U.S. or elsewhere, would be a crime in the U.S.”

READ MORE: China-Canada relations hang in the balance as Meng extradition case to heat up

There is also no real risk that HSBC would be exposed to economic deprivation through criminal or civil penalties in Canada because the Canadian legal system does not penalize “an innocent victim of fraud,” the documents say.

“If … HSBC is an unwitting victim then it cannot be at risk of deprivation under any criminal law or quasi-criminal (regulatory) laws in Canada,” the documents say.

“We do not punish the morally innocent.”

Amy Smart, 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

UPDATE: First presumptive case of COVID-19 in Prince Rupert

Doctor says it was a visitor, Northern Health won’t confirm

Northwest mines lengthen crew rotations in response to COVID-19

Northern Health confident precautions sufficient enough to keep work camps open

Coastal GasLink gives $100K to United Way efforts in Northern B.C.

Organization’s COVID-19 Relief Fund benefits seniors in isolation, among others

Don’t delay going to the ER if you have an ‘urgent or emergent’ medical problem: Chief of Staff

Dr. Rebecca Janssen writes a weekly letter to residents of the Omineca Region.

COVID-19: 4 new deaths, 25 new cases but only in Vancouver Coastal, Fraser Health

A total of 1,291 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

COVID-19: Don’t get away for Easter weekend, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

John Horgan, Adrian Dix call 130 faith leaders as holidays approach

COVID-19: Trudeau says 30K ventilators on the way; 3.6M Canadians claim benefits

Canada has seen more than 17,000 cases and at least 345 deaths due to COVID-19

RCMP call on kids to name latest foal recruits

The baby horses names are to start with the letter ‘S’

As Canadians return home amid pandemic, border crossings dip to just 5% of usual traffic

Non-commercial land crossing dipped by 95%, air travel dropped by 96 per cent, according to the CBSA

Logan Boulet Effect: Green Shirt Day calls on Canadians to become organ donors

While social distancing, the day also honours the 16 lives lost in the 2018 Humboldt Broncos Crash

COMMENTARY: Knowing where COVID-19 cases are does not protect you

Dr. Bonnie Henry explains why B.C. withholds community names

B.C. wide burning restrictions come into effect April 16

‘Larger open burns pose an unnecessary risk and could detract from wildfire detection’

Most Read