Huawei boss fighting extradition from Canada to US in London legal fight

Brian Farmer, PA

A boss at Chinese telecoms giant Huawei who is fighting against extradition from Canada to the United States is waiting to hear whether she has won a legal battle in Britain.

Wangzhou Meng, chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies, has been accused, in the US, of defrauding the HSBC bank by false misrepresentation.

She disputes claims made against her and wants to see HSBC documents she thinks will help her fight against extradition.

Lawyers representing Meng have asked a High Court judge based in London to make an order allowing her to inspect “bankers’ books held by UK-based entities within the HSBC group”, for use in support of her “abuse of process and evidential sufficiency arguments” in extradition proceedings.

HSBC says her application should be dismissed.

Mr Justice Fordham heard rival arguments at a virtual High Court hearing on Friday.

He indicated that he would deliver a ruling in the near future.

A barrister representing Meng told Mr Justice Fordham that litigation had started following an allegation relating to a potential violation of US sanctions against Iran.

James Lewis said nine years ago Reuters reported that a company in Iran named Skycom Tech had tried to sell computer equipment made by a US firm to a customer in Iran, in potential violation of US sanctions – and reports said Skycom was closely associated with Huawei.

He said HSBC had made “inquiries of Huawei”.

In August 2013, Meng had met a HSBC boss in Hong Kong.

Mr Lewis told the judge that the US’s case was founded upon what were said to be “misrepresentations” at that meeting.

He said it was alleged that Meng “failed to state” that Huawei controlled Skycom’s operations in Iran.

Mr Lewis said Meng had been detained at Vancouver airport in December 2018 and the US had made an extradition request to Canadian authorities in January 2019.

He said there were “compelling grounds” to believe that the case against Meng in extradition proceedings had been “materially mis-stated”, and that HSBC “was not in fact misled”.

Mr Lewis said Meng had asked the Supreme Court of British Columbia to stay extradition proceedings “as an abuse of the court’s process”.

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