Huawei’s CFO Meng Wanzhou takes HSBC to court in Hong Kong to seek access to bank’s internal papers
- The application at the High Court of Hong Kong was filed in the name of Meng against HSBC on February 25, according to court papers
- Meng was detained by Canadian authorities in December 2018 at the request of the US Justice Department over claims that she had misled HSBC about Huawei’s business deals with Iran
The application at the High Court of Hong Kong was filed on February 25 against HSBC, and Justice Linda Chan Ching-fan will hear Meng’s application behind closed doors on March 12, according to court papers.
Meng was detained by Canadian authorities in December 2018 at the request by the US Justice Department over claims that she had misled HSBC about Huawei’s business deals with Iran during a 2013 meeting.
The HSBC documents sought by Meng include internal bank papers about its compliance evaluation relating to Huawei and Skycom Tech, the unit used by the Chinese telecommunications company in its business dealings with Iran from December 2012 to April 2015.
The documents are at the heart of Meng’s defence. She claims that because she did not mislead HSBC about Huawei’s business dealing with Iran, that the fraud allegations that form the basis of the US extradition request should be thrown out. HSBC declined to comment.
A judge in the United Kingdom ruled last week that HSBC has no obligation to make its internal documents available to Meng.
For the Hong Kong court, Meng’s request to access HSBC internal documents could be a delicate matter since Britain’s High Court last week rejected her same request in a written judgment and ordered her team to pay legal costs of £800,000 (US$1.115 million).
Hong Kong’s court is independent and is “unlikely” to face any pressure or interference from Beijing to rule in favour of Huawei, said City University law professor Wang Jiangyu, who specialises in Chinese and comparative law.
“Hong Kong has a very strong and impartial judicial system which will not be easily compromised,” Wang told the Post. “I don’t think the judiciary will give in and take [any] leeway from the rule of law in the Meng Wanzhou case.”
China’s state-run media has criticised the judiciary only when trials of anti-Beijing protesters and politicians were involved, Wang said, adding that the Chinese government “does not need Hong Kong’s court to please it in each and every case.”
Meng’s case is widely watched as it matters to the relationship between China and Canada.
How the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou soured China's relations with the US and Canada
US prosecutors want Meng to face trial in New York on fraud charges, and are seeking to have her extradited from Vancouver, where she was under house arrest. Further hearings in the extradition case are expected to continue until May 14, but appeals could drag proceedings out for years.
Additional reporting by Chad Bray