Hong Kong court hears Meng Wanzhou’s application to access HSBC documents to undergird her bid to quash extradition to US
- The High Court did not make a ruling after the 30-minute hearing
- A second hearing is set for April 12, according to the court’s schedule
A closed-door hearing was held on Friday afternoon at Hong Kong High Court over whether HSBC must provide certain documents related to the extradition case of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou as the Chinese telecoms giant widened a legal battle to avoid sending its founder’s daughter to the US for trial.
The Hong Kong court didn’t make a ruling on Friday. The hearing lasted for about 30 minutes. Lawyers who went out of the hearing room declined to make any comments. The case is due for a one-day hearing on April 12, according to the court’s schedule.
The application, filed in the name of Vancouver-based Meng to seek access to documents relating to her extradition case, was filed at the end of February days after a similar request from Meng was rejected by a London court.
Meng maintains her innocence and has been trying to obtain the documents from HSBC to prove that HSBC had known the business deals of Huawei in Iran beforehand and she didn’t mislead the bank, thus negating the fraud allegations against her that form the basis of the US extradition request.
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.
At the same time, a Canadian government lawyer who represents the US interests in the extradition case, Robert Frater, said at a hearing earlier this month that it was inappropriate for the judge to weigh evidence that would be eventually be presented in New York if Meng were sent there to face the accusations. “Save it for the trial,” Frater said.
Alykhan Velshi, vice-president of corporate affairs for Huawei Canada, said in a telephone interview hours before the court hearing in Hong Kong that it is hard to predict the Hong Kong court ruling or eventual timeline of the case: hearings in the Vancouver extradition case are expected to continue until May 14 but appeals could drag proceedings out for years.
However, Huawei will try to show the court that the information Meng is seeking from HSBC “will go to the heart of her ability to demonstrate that there were material omissions and misstatements” at the US requests in her extradition, and that “there’s no other means by which she could otherwise obtain it,” Velshi said.