Monday, January 24

Vancouver judge’s decision on Huawei’s finance chief may deepen the dispute between the United States and China | Huawei


The prospect of a deepening diplomatic dispute between the US and China has risen after a Canadian judge refused to admit new evidence that could have helped Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, avoid extradition to USA

The arrest of Meng, the daughter of the billionaire founder of the Chinese telecommunications company, has caused a sharp deterioration in relations between Canada, the United States and China. Shortly after Meng’s arrest in Vancouver in December 2018, China arrested two Canadians in China: Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig.

Meng’s attorneys hoped that Deputy Magistrate Heather Holmes, who has been overseeing the case in the British Columbia Supreme Court, would allow her to use at least some of the documents obtained from HSBC through a Hong Kong court hearing.

Lawyers believe the documents show that she did not mislead senior HSBC executives about Huawei’s ties to an Iranian company. She faces fraud charges in the US for allegedly deceptive HSBC, and Huawei largely regards the case as part of a trade war instigated by Donald Trump.

Holmes will give his reasons at a later stage, but his ruling shows the extent to which Canadian law is reluctant to allow the extradition hearing, which begins next month, to become a substantive judgment on whether it has misled HSBC.

Meng’s lawyers had gone to great lengths to obtain the internal bank documents, first unsuccessfully suing in British court before winning in Hong Kong, followed by a ruling in Canadian court that the documents, including the email chains , should be published.

Huawei Canada said it respected the court’s decision, but regretted the outcome. He said: “The documents clearly demonstrate that HSBC, including its top executives, were aware of Huawei’s relationship with Skycom and its business in Iran. They show that the US case file is grossly unreliable. The hearings continue and, as always, we continue to support Ms. Meng in her pursuit of justice and freedom. “

Meng’s attorneys claim the documents prove that the United States misled Canadians in its summary to Canada of the case against it. In particular, the US government misled Canadian authorities by requesting their arrest in Vancouver on the extent of HSBC’s knowledge of transactions between Huawei and a Skycom subsidiary, and the relationship between the two companies.

The United States claims that Meng gave an HSBC executive a PowerPoint presentation at a meeting in Hong Kong that left the impression that Skycom was just Huawei’s local business partner, not a subsidiary.

Prosecutors say HSBC relied on Meng’s word to decide to continue handling Huawei’s financial transactions, putting the bank at risk of losing its reputation and being prosecuted for violating the same sanctions. Prosecutors in court have admitted that the documents show that the HSBC executives were provided with enough information to make them understand the true relationship, but there is no evidence that the executives actually came to that understanding.

It has been speculated that the US administration might want the case dropped, but once the wheels of justice have been rolled, it is very difficult for anyone to stop them.

Meng’s original extradition hearing was scheduled for last April, but the judge gave his lawyers more time to review the Hong Kong court documents. The extradition case is scheduled to begin on August 3 and could last until the fall.

Meng remains out on bail and lives in Vancouver with a curfew with her husband and children.


www.theguardian.com

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