Huawei CFO hopes UK 1879 law will help fight against extradi

Huawei CFO hopes UK 1879 law will help fight against extradition to US

12 February 2021 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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Huawei’s CFO Meng Wanzhou has brought her action against extradition to London, citing a 142-year-old law in her favour.

Meng is fighting in the Canadian courts against extradition to the US, where she is threatened with prosecution over allegations relating to the import of Huawei equipment to Iran, contrary to a US embargo.

In a London hearing that is going on today, her lawyers are citing the Bankers’ Books Evidence Act of 1879, legislation passed when Benjamin Disraeli was prime minister that allows courts to regard bank records as evidence “in all legal proceedings”.

They are hoping that the records will show HSBC were fully aware of the relationship between Meng, Huawei and a Hong Kong company, Skycom, which was used as an intermediary to sell the kit to Iran.

The US is alleging that Meng lied to HSBC by pretending that Skycom, the Hong Kong company that shipped products to Iran, had no connection with Huawei.

HSBC was the coordinator of a $1.5 billion loan to Huawei in 2013, and one of the main lenders. The following year it was involved in further negotiations for a credit facility of up to $900 million.

Meng’s lawyers are wanting to show that HSBC was fully aware of the relationship. However, the bank has told the BBC the application for disclosure was “without merit”.

Huawei is saying that HSBC continued its relationship with the Chinese company after Reuters reports about Skycom.

Last month Meng lost an appeal in Vancouver, where she is under house arrest, to have her bail conditions eased. She is next due in the Canadian court on 1 March.