HSBC and Huawei CFO reach documents deal amid extradition case

Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou has been seeking documents from HSBC in her fight against extradition from Canada to the US.

A British judge in February blocked the release of internal HSBC documents relating to the fraud allegations against Wanzhou [File: Lam Yik/Bloomberg]

HSBC and Huawei Technologies’ Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou have reached an agreement in a dispute about the publication of documents relating to fraud allegations in the United States against her, their lawyers told a Hong Kong court.

The judge, Linda Chan, made court orders along the lines of the agreement, she said on Monday. The orders were, however, not immediately available.

The legal dispute reached the Hong Kong court last month after a British judge in February blocked the release of internal HSBC documents relating to the fraud allegations against Meng.

Meng, who has been under house arrest in Canada since being detained at Vancouver’s airport in 2018, is facing charges of bank fraud in the US for allegedly misleading HSBC about Huawei dealings in Iran, causing the bank to violate US sanctions.

The documents requested in Hong Kong include those in connection with the evaluation of compliance, sanctions, credit or reputational risk posed by Huawei Technologies, Skycom or Canicula Holdings between late 2012 and April 2015, according to an earlier court filing. Meng’s lawyers have previously argued that HSBC knew Huawei controlled the accounts of Canicula Holdings Ltd, the parent company of Skycom, the entity accused of doing business in Iran.

The teahouse meeting

A key element of the US case involves a meeting between Meng and an HSBC Holding Plc banker that took place at a Hong Kong teahouse in August 2013. According to the US indictment, a presentation she made misrepresented Huawei’s operations in Iran, causing the bank to put itself at risk of sanctions violations. Meng denies the allegations.

Huawei CFO
Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou [File: Jennifer Gauthier/Reuters]

Meng is seeking records from the bank and has said documents would show that lenders were aware of the connections to Iran-linked Skycom Tech Co.

Meng’s defence team had argued earlier in a Canadian court that because Meng is a Chinese national and the meeting took place in Hong Kong, a Chinese territory, the matter was beyond the reach of US law. The US claims jurisdiction in part because the transactions that HSBC handled for Huawei were cleared through the US dollar system. Prosecutors in the US have frequently brought charges against foreign nationals based on their use of so-called “dollar clearing”.

The scope of Monday’s agreement was unclear.

Responding to Reuters’ request for comment on Monday, a Huawei spokesman and an HSBC spokeswoman said they had reached an agreement, but did not provide any further details.

Source: News Agencies