A lawyer for Meng Wanzhou told a judge in Vancouver on Aug. 13 that the case for her extradition to the United States is fatally flawed because the Huawei CFO did not deceive or deprive HSBC.
Eric Gottardi opened three days of arguments in B.C. Supreme Court, after lawyers for the Government of Canada spent two days making the case for Meng to be sent to trial on fraud charges in New York.
“Frauds are usually extreme, a lie is told, the result of the lie, a victim is cheated out of money, or at least put at risk of losing money,” Gottardi said before Assoc. Chief Justice Heather Holmes. “This case is different. The alleged deception is ambiguous at best and the risk of economic loss to the alleged victim HSBC is wholly illusory.”
Meng is accused of misleading the bank in 2013 to loan Huawei money by claiming that a subsidiary called SkyCom was a third-party. The U.S. claims Meng hid Huawei’s control of SkyCom in order to subvert sanctions on Iran.
“The statements in the Powerpoint are true, Huawei did sell its shares in SkyCom, Meng left the board and SkyCom became a legal entity,” Gottardii said. “None of this content in the Powerpoint was wrong or misleading.”
The Crown, on behalf of the U.S., contends that Meng put HSBC at risk of ruining its reputation and of breaking U.S. sanctions law. Gottardi called the U.S. case theoretical or speculative.
“The committal for extradition threshold is not a high one, it is a meaningful threshold and the requesting state requires a plausible case on each element. Here we say the case falls far short on all of them,” Gottardi said.
HSBC, he said, is not a victim and has not been subject to criminal prosecution or civil penalty related to the Huawei deal.
Coincidentally, HSBC is the lender for both of Meng’s Vancouver houses, which are in the name of her husband, “Carlos” Liu Xiaozong.
After Meng’s defence team is finished on Aug. 17, the Crown will have a chance to reply. The hearing is scheduled to end Aug. 20 and Holmes expected to reserve decision for a later date. Regardless of outcome, an appeal is expected.
Before the hearing began Aug. 11, China upheld the death sentence for convicted drug smuggler Robert Schellenberg and sentenced hostage Michael Spavor to 11 years. Both decisions were condemned by Canadian government officials as retaliation for the Dec. 1, 2018 arrest of Meng at Vancouver International Airport on a warrant tied to Canada’s extradition treaty with the U.S.
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