“It’s not complex,” said Crown prosecutor Robert Frater. “Lying to a bank is fraud.”
Meng was arrested at Vancouver International Airport in December, 2018 at the request of U.S. authorities.
She’s facing charges in the United States over allegations she lied to an HSBC executive about Huawei’s relationship with a subsidiary doing business in Iran.
She’s accused of putting the investment bank at risk of legal and economic loss for violating American sanctions against Iran, but Meng’s lawyers point out Canada has no such sanctions.
Frater argued Wednesday that Meng clearly made misrepresentations to HSBC about dealings with Huawei subsidiary Skycom, and that she must have know there was a chance HSBC could suffer deprivation as a result.
He told the court that HSBC loaned hundreds of millions of dollars to Huawei, based on assurances from Meng that there was no inappropriate relationship with the Skycom.
“The moment the money leaves HSBC’s control it is enough to prove risk of deprivation,” said Frater.
The defence wrapped its arguments on the topic Tuesday, saying that the case against her does not amount to fraud in Canada, and there was no double criminality because Canada does not have sanctions against Iran.
Frater also took aim at that argument Wednesday, telling the court it was “absolutist.”
“Absolute rules are often rejected by courts, and double criminality is far more nuanced than that,” he said.
Crown wrapped its arguments shortly after noon. The court is scheduled to resume hearings Thursday at 10 a.m.
The Crown has argued in court documents that Meng’s alleged lies to the bank are enough to prove a case of fraud in Canada.
It also argues that, if necessary, the judge can consider the context of American sanctions in a limited way, only to shed light on the risk faced by HSBC.
Meng denies the allegations and is free on bail, living in one of her two multimillion-dollar homes in Vancouver.
She has been listening in court with the help of a translator.
Following her arrest at Vancouver’s airport in December 2018, China detained two Canadian citizens and restricted some imports, actions widely seen as retaliation.
The British Columbia Supreme Court hearing on double criminality is expected to last through the end of the day Thursday.
If the judge finds the legal test has been met, the hearing will proceed to a second phase in June that will consider defence allegations that Meng’s rights were violated during her arrest at the airport.
But if the judge finds double criminality has not been proven, Meng will be free to leave Canada, although she’ll still have to stay away from the United States to avoid the charges.
With files from Aaron McArthur