Huawei has suffered a blow to its efforts to block the extradition of chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou from Canada to the US after a London court denied the company’s request to force HSBC to disclose documents related to the case.
A judge at the High Court in London, where HSBC is headquartered, said he did not have the juridsdiction to comply with Huawei’s request.
Justice Fordham also refused the application on grounds of interpretation.
Huawei had sought documents related to a meeting between Meng and HSBC bankers in a Hong Kong restaurant in 2013.
In its extradition case the US alleges that Huawei misled HSBC over the status of Skycom, a subsidiary that allegedly did business in Iran in contravention of US sanctions.
The US alleges that HSBC later relied on the 2013 presentation to clear millions of dollars in transactions that potentially violated the US’s Iran sanctions.
According to an indictment, HSBC said Huawei had “repeatedly misrepresented” its business dealings in Iran.
Huawei, for its part, argues Meng did not mislead HSBC and identified Skycom as a partner that conducts business activities in Iran, calling the US allegations “reckless misstatements”.
“Knowledge of the true relationship between Huawei and Skycom was in fact shared by HSBC’s senior executives,” Meng’s lawyers said in a High Court filing.
Huawei had sought to apply a 1879 statute that applies to bankers’ books, but the High Court judge decided the law defined “books” as ledgers and similar entries and not “everything that a bank has, or does, or writes down, in the course of its ordinary business as a bank”.
The Chinese firm, which is the world’s largest manufacturer of telecommunications equipment, said it was “disappointed” by the decision.
“The pursuit of justice benefits from access to relevant information and clarity of fact,” it said in a statement.
“Huawei remains confident in Meng Wanzhou’s innocence and will continue to support her pursuit of justice and freedom.”
Meng, who is also the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, was detained in Vancouver, Canada in 2018 and is currently living there on bail terms that require her to wear an ankle monitor and be supervised by court-appointed security.
HSBC said it was pleased with the court’s ruling and that it wasn’t party to the US case against Huawei or to the extradition request in Canada.
The case has inflamed tensions between the US, Canada and China, while placing HSBC in a difficult diplomatic position, as a UK-based company that makes the majority of its profit in Hong Kong and China.