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Bob Mackin

A presentation to a senior bureaucrat in the B.C. NDP government suggests bidders for the 2030 Winter Olympics and Paralympics are eager to negotiate a backroom deal to bring the Games back to Vancouver.

John Furlong (left) and RCMP Olympic security head Bud Mercer in 2010 (BudMercer.ca)

theBreaker.news exclusively obtained a copy of a March 17 Powerpoint presentation by John Furlong, the Vancouver 2010 organizing committee CEO, to Assistant Deputy Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Asha Bhat.

Twice in the BC 2030-branded presentation there are references to preferred candidate status.

The International Olympic Committee is facing a shortage of Games host cities due to spiralling costs and corruption scandals. New IOC policies seek to replace expensive bidding wars with negotiations aimed at the early awarding of hosting rights.

In February, the IOC named Brisbane the preferred candidate for the 2032 Summer Games. In July, before the Summer Olympics opened in Tokyo, the IOC rubber-stamped the Australian city as the host, four years before the scheduled host city vote.

Under the heading “winning conditions,” the BC 2030 presentation states: “New IOC process is simplified and tailored for an existing Host City to bring the Games home again.”

“Opportunity to achieve preferred candidate status; 2034 will have increased competition,” said the presentation. “The timing may never again be this favourable for Canada to win.”

It identified potential competitors as 1972-host Sapporo and 2002-host Salt Lake City, both of whom could be adversely impacted by Summer Olympics in their countries: Tokyo 2020 and Los Angeles 2028.

The presentation said a European bid is unlikely, but a group is exploring a joint Spanish/French/Andorran Games for 2030.

From BC 2030 bid presentation to the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (BC Gov/FOI)

The BC 2030 presentation suggests three hosting concepts, none of which carry cost estimates:

  • “2010 Model”: Reuse Vancouver 2010 venues, with the exception of the Hillcrest curling complex (now a community centre) and the Olympic Village (which is fully occupied);
  • “2010 Modified”: Reuse most 2010 venues, but consider including additional communities, such as Victoria and Burnaby; or
  • A regional or provincial Games, with venues across B.C.

The presentation was thin on details, but heavy on platitudes. It claimed the 2030 Games could be the “most sustainable” Winter Games bid ever, carbon-neutral and privately funded. The source of the private funds was not mentioned.

The estimated cost of $2 billion for Games operations does not include building an Olympic Village, renovation or expansion to existing venues or Games-time security. In 2010, the RCMP and Canadian military spent $900 million.

In smaller print, the presentation includes this disclaimer about costs: “Excludes choices governments may make to leverage the Games to invest in infrastructure, community and/or legacy initiatives.”

BC 2030 Olympic bid logo (BC Gov/FOI)

One of the slides claims “very positive” initial conversations with First Nations and “Measured and positive early conversations with Federal Government, Whistler, Richmond, Burnaby, Vancouver.”

Another slide mentions opportunities for housing and transportation mega-projects, specifically the Arbutus to UBC SkyTrain, and suggests the 2010 Four Host First Nations could reunite in 2030 and use the Games to meet goals of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (DRIPA).

Furlong’s BC 2030 bid team includes five former VANOC executives: marketing vice-president Andrea Shaw, sport vice-president Tim Gayda, communications director Chris Brumwell, Games operations managing director Mary Conibear and commercial rights management director Bill Cooper.

Four are consultants, while Brumwell is vice-president of communications with Canucks Sports and Entertainment.

The Aquilini-owned Rogers Arena could be the main hockey venue in a 2030 bid. The owners of the Vancouver Canucks are also hoping to build a new ski resort near Squamish.

The IOC wants to choose the 2030 host no later than 2023, but questions remain about how much VANOC spent on the 2010 Games and who got paid what. Board meeting minutes and financial files remain off-limits to the public until fall 2025, under a post-Games agreement with the City of Vancouver Archives.

Questions also remain about Furlong’s past. His 2011-published Patriot Hearts memoir omitted his past as a gym teacher at a Catholic day school for indigenous children. Six members of the Burns Lake band accused Furlong of child abuse dating back to 1969. None of the allegations has been tested in court. Furlong denied any wrongdoing.

The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal will hear their complaint against the RCMP, which alleges the Furlong file was closed due to anti-indigenous racism and favouritism for Furlong.

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Bob Mackin A presentation to a senior bureaucrat

For the week of Aug. 22, 2021:

It’s theBreaker.news Podcast bicentennial edition.

Celebrate the milestone with highlights from the first, 50th, 100th and 150th editions with host Bob Mackin:

  • The first edition on Nov. 5, 2017 featuring investigative reporter Glenn Greenwald’s appearance at the Allard Prize anti-corruption awards;
  • Richmond real estate and immigration lawyer Hong Guo, during her failed 2018 mayoral campaign, denying China’s human rights abuses;
  • From the 100th edition in 2019, corruption-fighting B.C. Legislature Speaker Darryl Plecas and outspoken Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West;
  • And Sonia Furstenau, before she was elected the B.C. Greens leader and faced the NDP’s John Horgan in his controversial snap election.
  • Plus commentary and Pacific Rim and Pacific Northwest headlines.

CLICK BELOW to listen or go to TuneIn or Apple Podcasts.

Now on Google Podcasts!

Have you missed an edition of theBreaker.news Podcast? Go to the archive.

Support theBreaker.news for as low as $2 a month on Patreon. Find out how. Click here.

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theBreaker.news Podcast: Special 200th edition
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For the week of Aug. 22, 2021:

Bob Mackin

Vancouver Whitecaps FC returns Aug. 21 to play in front of a B.C. Place crowd for the first time since the pandemic began.

The date is also nine months after a judge ruled the Major League Soccer club could not keep its stadium lease a secret anymore.

Whitecaps’ captain Jay DeMerit (left) and Premier Christy Clark at the Sept. 30, 2011 reopening of B.C. Place Stadium (Whitecaps)

theBreaker.news originally sought a copy of the amendment in fall 2016 from B.C. Pavilion Corporation under the freedom of information law. PavCo and the Whitecaps refused to co-operate.

In early 2019, an adjudicator with the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner upheld the public’s right to access negotiated contracts between private companies and public bodies. But the Whitecaps sued the OIPC to block the disclosure.

The club unsuccessfully claimed the deal with the taxpayer-owned stadium manager was not negotiated and admitted it did not want the public to know the financial and sponsorship terms.

B.C. Place Stadium was supposed to become Telus Park, but Clark nixed the naming rights deal.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Karen Horsman disagreed with the Whitecaps and ruled: “The adjudicator’s decision was justified, intelligible and transparent, and therefore reasonable.”

theBreaker.news finally got a copy of the Jan. 1, 2017-effective sponsorship agreement, which is an addendum to the 15-year anchor tenancy deal made March 10, 2011.

The reason for the deal was to resolve a long-simmering feud over naming rights.

The Whitecaps sought the amendment for advertising and sponsorship activations outside of the stadium’s inner bowl.

PavCo retained the right to sell naming rights for the stadium itself, but committed to engaging with the Whitecaps on the issue “in a collaborative and integrated manner.”

Whitecaps’ owner Greg Kerfoot (Santa Ono, Twitter)

Before the September 2011 reopening from a $563 million renovation, PavCo sold the naming rights to Telus for $40 million in cash, goods and services over 20 years. But the Telus Park sign was never raised.

The BC Liberal cabinet under Premier Christy Clark, a close friend of Whitecaps’ owner Greg Kerfoot, cancelled the deal under pressure from the Bell-sponsored Whitecaps. PavCo paid $15 million for screens and wifi installed by Telus.

Whitecaps have referred to the field under the roof as Bell Pitch, but PavCo began seeking a new naming rights partner a year before the pandemic hit.

The contract, obtained exclusively by theBreaker.news, set the Whitecaps’ annual payments to PavCo at $225,000 (or $12,500-per-game) from 2017 to 2021. The payments increase by $25,000-per year beginning in 2022, maxing out at $325,000 in 2025.

The deal also hiked the facility fee to $3.25 per ticket and the parties agreed to a comprehensive review of facility fees during the 2021 operating year.

In the mid-2000s, Kerfoot proposed building his own $75 million outdoor stadium north of Gastown. He did not contribute to the cost of the B.C. Place renovation, which included a retractable roof. 

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READ: Whitecaps contract with B.C. Pavilion Corporation by Bob Mackin on Scribd

Bob Mackin Vancouver Whitecaps FC returns Aug. 21

Bob Mackin

Opponents of the fledgling Surrey Police Service discovered in documents released under freedom of information that Chief Norm Lipinski uses a private email account while doing public business.

But when they posted to Twitter an excerpt from Lipinski’s email that contained his Gmail address, the non-operational police department convinced the social media company to suspend the Keep the RCMP in Surrey [KTRIS] account and delete the Tweet.

The Tweet that led to a lawsuit threat from Surrey Police Service (KTRIS/Twitter)

When they tried to repost it, SPS retained a lawyer to threaten two KTRIS supporters with a lawsuit.

The Aug. 18 cease and desist letter from Keri Bennett, a workplace privacy lawyer at the Roper Greyell firm in Vancouver, accused them of trying to “unlawfully use and distribute [Lipinski’s] personal email address.”

theBreaker.news wanted to know why Lipinski uses a foreign-owned, web-based email account for police business. He did not respond Aug. 19.

Coun. Brenda Locke of Surrey Connect, who opposes Mayor Doug McCallum’s slow-moving switch from the RCMP, said Lipinski is in the wrong.

“He’s a police chief and he should be using proper protocol, which is not to use a personal account,” Locke said. “I’m puzzled as to why they’re going after — with citizens’ money, by the way — going after residents for something was provided to them by the very police service itself.”

Paul Daynes, spokesman for Keep the RCMP in Surrey, said the group considers the cease and desist letter “bullying and intimidation of the most-unacceptable kind” toward the senior women who obtained the documents under the FOI law.

“We are currently considering lodging a formal complaint with the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner [OIPC] and the Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner [OPCC] for B.C. for conduct unbecoming and unacceptable in a senior police officer for the province,” Daynes said.

Surrey Police Chief Norm Lipinski.

It is not illegal for a public official to use a private email address. But the OIPC considers all work-related communications by public officials subject to the freedom of information law. An email address used for business purposes is not personal information.

“The use of personal email accounts does not relieve public bodies of their duty to comprehensively search for requested records and to produce them,” then-OIPC Commissioner Elizabeth Denham declared in a March 2013 directive to appointed and elected officials. “The use of personal email accounts for work purposes can give the perception that public body employees are seeking to evade the freedom of information process.”

Denham’s statement also reminded public officials that a personal email account is a security risk.

Coun. Brenda Locke (Surrey Connect)

First, the terms of service for personal accounts may allow third-party access to content in a way that is in contravention of FIPPA. Second, security features for webmail services may not be adequate for FIPPA purposes. Any public body that allows use of personal email accounts to send or receive personal information is therefore risking non-compliance with FIPPA,” Denham wrote.

Surrey NDP MLA Jinny Sims stepped down in October 2019 from her cabinet post as the minister in charge of the B.C. government’s freedom of information department after she was caught using personal accounts to bypass the FOI system.

In 2018, during his final term as Mayor of Vancouver, theBreaker.news revealed that Gregor Robertson was using a Gmail account to hide his communications — including Tweets that were ghostwritten by his chief of staff.

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Bob Mackin Opponents of the fledgling Surrey Police

Bob Mackin

Premier John Horgan charged taxpayers more than $24,000 for his first trip outside Southwestern B.C. since he relaxed pandemic restrictions, according to documents obtained by theBreaker.news.

Anderson Air Cessna

On June 30, Horgan flew with seven passengers on an Anderson Air charter jet from Victoria International Airport to Watson Lake, Yukon, the nearest airport to Lower Post, B.C.

At Lower Post, Horgan was the special guest for a ceremony where local indigenous people demolished a 1975-closed residential school to make way for a new community centre.

Horgan’s entourage traveled on a Cessna Citation Sovereign, which boasted a stand-up cabin, satellite based wifi, DVD in-flight entertainment, satellite radio, hot meals, snacks and a premium bar. The documents, obtained via freedom of information, do not show whether Horgan and co. enjoyed the amenities.

The journey began at Vancouver International Airport on June 29, when the jet took-off for Victoria with one passenger, Horgan Deputy Chief of Staff Don Bain, from the Landmark Aviation private terminal to Shell Aerocentre at Victoria International Airport.

The next morning, the jet flew north carrying Bain, Horgan, Deputy Provincial Health Officer of indigenous health Danielle Behn-Smith, press secretary Lindsey Byers, Stikine MLA Nathan Cullen, Deputy Chief of Staff Amber Hockin and an RCMP bodyguard whose name was censored.

After six hours on the ground, the Anderson Air jet returned with the entourage to Victoria and landed shortly after 7 p.m. The plane returned to YVR carrying Bain before 8:30 p.m.

A June 24 email among two Horgan staffers said the $24,138.47 quote was the lowest of three for comparable aircraft and saved two hours travel time over alternative aircraft. Details of the costing were not included.

Government policy states that chartered aircraft use is only permitted “when there is no alternative means of transportation at a lesser cost, and within a reasonable time.” That includes limited scheduled air service.

Premier John Horgan joins Deputy Chief Harlan Schilling of the Daylu Dena Council (BC Gov)

During the 2017 election campaign, the NDP produced a TV ad about then-Premier Christy Clark’s costly use of private jets. This reporter broke a series of stories about the BC Liberal leader’s charter jet spending that cost taxpayers more than $600,000 during her first five years in office.

Last fall, when Horgan led the NDP to a majority in an election that broke the fixed date law, the party paid more than $73,000 to private charter flight company Mondial Aviation of Victoria. Horgan campaign stops included Terrace, Revelstoke, Kamloops, Merritt, Penticton and Oliver.

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Bob Mackin Premier John Horgan charged taxpayers more

Inside the secret July 16 Surrey Police swearing-in (SPS)

Bob Mackin

The internal memo from the chief of the Surrey Police Service announcing the fledgling force’s first swearing-in ceremony made no mention of COVID-19 protocols to justify the closed-doors event.

The force, which may not replace the RCMP until 2023 or 2024, held a secret ceremony in the city council auditorium on July 16. 

“A calendar invite will be sent where you can RSVP,” said Chief Norm Lipinski in the June 30 memo, marked ‘not for further distribution’. “We are asking that this date and information be kept confidential so that our communications department can inform the public and media of this significant milestone for the Surrey Police Service.”

The ceremony invitation was issued later and said that it was a closed event due to COVID-19 restrictions. Families of officers and staff were sent a confidential livestream link to view live, based on the honour system.

“You may share the link below with your family members only,” said the directions. “Please ask them to keep this link confidential as this is a closed event that is not open to the public. It is important that we maintain the confidentiality of our employees, for both operational and personal reasons. We also ask employees and their family members to refrain from posting about this event on social media until after the media release goes out on Monday, July 19.”

Surrey Police chief Norm Lipinski and Mayor Doug McCallum on July 16 (SPS)

The guest list showed more than 100 were invited. But SPS kept secret the names of most of its employees, plus the names of a consultant, six members of the civic transition/implementation team, six city employees and a member of the police board.

Mayor Doug McCallum and three members of his four-councillor Safe Surrey Coalition caucus — including girlfriend Allison Patton — were invited.

Four opposition councillors were not, including the two biggest critics of McCallum’s plan to replace the RCMP, Brenda Locke and Jack Hundial.

On July 21, Locke announced she is running in a bid to defeat McCallum in the October 2022 mayoral election.

How much did the ceremony and after-party cost? Surrey Police says it won’t release that information unless theBreaker.news pays $90. theBreaker.news is appealing.

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[caption id="attachment_11511" align="alignright" width="477"] Inside the secret

Bob Mackin

Meng Wanzhou’s extradition hearing ended Aug. 18, 991 days since her sensational arrest at Vancouver International Airport.

The Huawei CFO and daughter of the Chinese telecom giant’s founder has lived under curfew in one of her two Vancouver houses since her Dec. 11, 2018 bail from a suburban women’s prison.

Meng Wanzhou and her Lions Gate security bodyguard (Bob Mackin)

She appeared in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver with her entourage, wearing a purple dress and the court-ordered surveillance anklet on her lower right leg.

The U.S. accuses Meng of defrauding HSBC during a Hong Kong meeting in 2013. U.S. authorities want her to face a judge in New York because they say she hid Huawei’s ownership of a subsidiary called SkyCom so that it could get a bank loan and sell computer equipment in Iran, contrary to U.S. sanctions law.

Assoc. Chief Justice Heather Holmes reserved her decision after the week-long committal hearing, which ended two days sooner than scheduled. Court will reconvene Oct. 21, when Holmes is expected to reveal when her decisions on the extradition and the defence allegations of abuse of process will be delivered.

Meng, her defence team and lawyers for the Canadian government, who argued on behalf of the U.S., had been in and out of court intermittently for the last two-and-a-half years for preliminary hearings.

Louis Huang outside a court appearance in the case of Meng Wanzhou at the Law Courts in Vancouver on March 8 (Mackin)

As he wrapped up, Robert Frater, the top lawyer in Canada’s Department of Justice, accused Meng’s defence team of “describing the law as they wish it to be — and not as it is.”

“We’ve met our burden, and she should be committed [for extradition],” Frater said.

Meng’s lawyers said the case should be thrown out and Meng freed because the bank suffered no loss. 

Frater, however, argued that Canada’s fraud law does not require economic damage. Only that there were acts of dishonesty and deprivation. He also accused Meng’s defence team of aiming to try the case before Holmes.

Extradition hearings are not trials, he said, they are expeditious procedures to determine whether a trial should be held. He told Holmes that her job is to decide whether the case meets Canadian extradition law, not to assess “quality, credibility or reliability of the case, except in a very limited sense.”

The case fraught with geopolitical intrigue sparked a new cold war between China and the west.

Before the hearing began Aug. 11, China upheld the death sentence for convicted Canadian drug smuggler Robert Schellenberg and sentenced Canadian hostage Michael Spavor to 11 years for alleged spying. Both decisions were condemned by Canadian government officials as retaliation for the Dec. 1, 2018 arrest of Meng.

Robert Frater (Government of Canada)

A second Canadian hostage, Michael Kovrig, awaits his verdict on a similar charge of spying. The Chinese government has released no evidence and denied diplomats and reporters access to trials of the Two Michaels.

During court hearings in Vancouver over the last two years, Meng’s legal team has claimed she is the victim of a politically motivated prosecution stemming from the U.S.-China trade war. They also claim Canadian police infringed upon her rights when she was arrested.

In May 2020, Holmes ruled the U.S. extradition application could proceed because of similarities in Canadian fraud law — a principle known as double criminality.

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Bob Mackin Meng Wanzhou’s extradition hearing ended Aug.

For the week of Aug. 15, 2021:

There will be no more charges against senior staff in the B.C. Legislature corruption scandal.

Ex-Clerk Craig James will stand trial next January for breach of trust and fraud. But special prosecutors decided ex-Sergeant-at-Arms Gary Lenz will not be charged.

Lenz claims the announcement from the two special prosecutors means he was exonerated. But he retired in disgrace after a 2019 Police Act probe into his misconduct.

Hear reaction from former Speaker Darryl Plecas, the special guest on the 199th edition of theBreaker.news Podcast with host Bob Mackin.

Meanwhile, China upheld the death sentence for one Canadian and sentenced another to jail for 11 years — just before Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou’s extradition hearing finally began in Vancouver.

Laura Harth of the pan-Asian human rights group Safeguard Defenders offers her analysis and suggests China is only giving countries more reasons to boycott next year’s Beijing Winter Olympics.

Plus commentary and Pacific Rim and Pacific Northwest headlines.

CLICK BELOW to listen or go to TuneIn or Apple Podcasts.

Now on Google Podcasts!

Have you missed an edition of theBreaker.news Podcast? Go to the archive.

Support theBreaker.news for as low as $2 a month on Patreon. Find out how. Click here.

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theBreaker.news Podcast: The 199th edition, featuring the latest on B.C.'s Legislature corruption scandal and China's bullying
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For the week of Aug. 15, 2021:

Bob Mackin

When the puck drops on the next B.C. Hockey League season, unvaccinated players may not be allowed to take shots in some rinks.

theBreaker.news obtained a copy of the Junior A league’s executive committee memo sent to teams on Aug. 13.  It will be up to teams whether to mandate vaccinations against the coronavirus. But venues for practices and games are expected to have the final say. 

“The League is aware of a number of organizations that are investigating and implementing mandatory vaccination policies, including some arenas and facilities that teams may use,” said the executive committee memo. “Where this arises, unvaccinated staff and players will be unable to play, practice or participate. Based on current information, the League expects that more organizations will be moving to requiring that any persons seeking to enter or use their premises/facilities will have to be fully vaccinated.”

At least one venue is off-limits until further notice. Unvaccinated players and staff will be unable to travel to games in Wenatchee, Wash., due to current border crossing requirements.

Staff may be subject to fines for disobeying health and safety measures. Players may be subject to unspecified team and/or league discipline. Restrictions set by the Provincial Health Officer will also apply.

All personnel must provide government-approved proof of full vaccination 14 days prior to joining the team, be subject to daily screening questionnaires and provide proof of negative test before or upon arrival at main camp, after a significant absence from the team and on return from Christmas break. All information collected will be subject to the Personal Information Protection Act. 

Unvaccinated players must wear full-face shields. Unvaccinated coaching staff, trainers and other bench staff must wear a face mask on the bench at all times and wear facemarks when distancing is not possible at team meetings and gatherings, including any off-ice warmups, gyms and dressing rooms, buses and community events.

Fully vaccinated players may wear any on-ice facial protection — a half-shield visor, full cage or full face shield. All players and staff must distance wherever possible.

Any player or staffer with symptoms or who has been exposed will bear the costs of quarantine and testing.

Teams played abbreviated 20-game seasons in a regional pod format last winter and spring. 

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Bob Mackin When the puck drops on the

Bob Mackin

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.

Eric Gottardi (Peck and Co.)

“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.

Meng Wanzhou leaving the Law Courts on Sept. 23 (Mackin)

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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Bob Mackin A lawyer for Meng Wanzhou told