Not a crime in Canada: Meng Wanzhou's lawyers argue she shouldn't be extradited to U.S.
VANCOUVER -- In their latest battle against efforts to extradite Meng Wanzhou from Canada to the U.S. to face fraud charges, the Huawei executive’s defence team argued that even if she were to have committed the crimes alleged, they weren’t crimes under Canadian law.
In documents filed by Meng’s lawyers with B.C. Supreme Court on Nov. 13, but first made available to the media on Thursday, Meng’s defence team laid out how it plans to show that the American charges don’t meet the test for what’s called dual or double criminality.
Canada’s Extradition Act reads that a requirement of extradition is that “the conduct of the person, had it occurred in Canada, would have constituted an offence that is punishable in Canada.”
In their 40-page submission the court ahead of Meng’s extradition hearing, which is scheduled to get underway on Jan. 20, 2020, her lawyers wrote that for arguments sake, they’d accept the U.S. allegations against her are true.
Suppose Meng did indeed misrepresent Huawei’s relationship with its subsidiary, Skycom, operating in Iran in a PowerPoint presentation given to HSBC bank, as the U.S. indictment alleges, her defence team wrote.
And suppose HSBC did indeed provided banking services to Huawei that then violated U.S. sanctions against Iran.
Double criminality, her lawyers argue, requires one to frame that behaviour as if it had entirely taken place in Canada.
And if one does, they go on to write, it would not constitute bank and wire fraud under Canadian law, because Canada did not have similar sanctions against Iran, and thus they argue there was no risk of harm to HSBC.
“Accordingly,” they wrote in the application to the court, “[Meng] could not be found guilty of fraud under [the Canadian Criminal Code], the U.S. can’t make out double criminality, and therefore, its application to commit [Meng] for extradition must fall.”
In their application, Meng’s defence team also takes a jab at American authorities: “The [U.S.] seeks to dress up its sanctions breaking complaint as a case of fraud.”
Canada’s attorney general has until Jan. 8, 2020 to respond and to file its own submissions with respect to double criminality.
CTV News plans to report on those filings once the court makes them available to the media.
After weighing evidence and case law, if Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes decides the double criminality test has been met, Meng’s defence team still has a list of other arguments they plan to make to halt her extradition.
Court has set aside time in June to hear Meng’s accusations that her Charter rights were violated when CBSA officers detained and questioned her for three hours at YVR on Dec. 1, 2018, before RCMP informed her informed a warrant existed for her arrest and took her into custody.
Meng’s lawyers allege Canadian and U.S. authorities were involved in a “covert criminal investigation” to uncover evidence that could bolster the American case against her. CBSA and RCMP have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. Meng’s defence team has also outlined it plans to argue the case against her is politically motivated.
Meng was last in court in September and October for a series of hearings related to an application related to a request that Crown and Canadian government agencies turn over more documents. The judge has yet to rule on that application.
The Huawei CFO, who has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, remains on $10mn bail living in one of her two Vancouver mansions.