Huawei Exec Loses UK Court Bid to Access HSBC Records

Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou leaves the British Columbia Supreme Court following a Sept. 30, 2020, hearing on motions in the U.S. extradition case against her. (Courthouse News photo / Darryl Greer)

LONDON (AFP) — A senior executive for the Chinese tech giant Huawei lost a British High Court bid Friday to access banking records which she said would help her battle extradition from Canada to the U.S.

Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou — whose father is the Chinese company’s founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei — has been in a two-year battle against extradition over charges Huawei violated U.S. sanctions on Iran.

Meng is accused in the U.S. of defrauding HSBC by falsely misrepresenting links between Huawei and a company that sold telecoms equipment to Iran.

In the U.K. ruling, High Court Judge Michael Fordham rejected the application and ordered Meng to pay 80,000 pounds ($111,000) toward HSBC’s legal costs.

The judge said the Canadian court in Vancouver, where the executive’s extradition hearing is being considered, was the “appropriate forum” to decide whether the HSBC records were necessary for a fair hearing.

“I have no real confidence that I am properly equipped to judge whether and if so what HSBC documents would be needed to secure a fair hearing for the applicant in Canada,” he said.

Meng’s arrest on a U.S. warrant during a Vancouver stopover in December 2018 — and Beijing’s subsequent detention of two Canadians — caused a major diplomatic rift between Canada and China.

She has denied hiding Huawei’s relationship with the covert subsidiary Skycom in Iran from HSBC.

In a High Court hearing last week, her lawyer James Lewis said there were “compelling grounds” to show the bank had not been misled.  

In January, a Canadian judge rejected Meng’s request to relax her bail conditions as she fights extradition.

According to documents seen by Canada’s public broadcaster CBC, her defense believe Canada would violate international law by extraditing Meng as her alleged actions have no connection to the US.

Her lawyers also claim her rights were violated when she was arrested at the Vancouver airport and that sensitive information about her was passed on to the FBI, which Canada denies. 

The final hearings to determine whether Meng will be extradited are scheduled for May.

© Agence France-Presse

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