Huawei finance chief faces setback in fight against US extradition

Vancouver judge denies bid by Meng Wanzhou to add over 300 HSBC documents to her legal battle

A Canadian judge has denied an application by Meng Wanzhou, the Huawei chief financial officer, to add documents her legal team received from HSBC as evidence to her US extradition case, the judge announced on Friday.

Meng, 49, is facing extradition from Canada to the US on charges of bank fraud for allegedly misleading HSBC about Huawei’s business dealings in Iran, potentially causing the bank to break US sanctions. She has been held under house arrest in Vancouver since December 2018, when she was first detained.

Her legal team received a trove of over 300 pages of internal documents from HSBC through a court in Hong Kong, which the defence argued should be entered as evidence because they would disprove the basis for the extradition claim.

Associate chief justice Heather Holmes, who has been overseeing the case in the British Columbia supreme court since its inception, disagreed. Her reasons will be released in writing in approximately 10 days, she said.

“We respect the court’s ruling, but regret this outcome,” Huawei Canada said in a statement released after the ruling, insisting the documents showed HSBC was aware of Huawei’s business dealings in Iran, proving that the US’s account of the case was “manifestly unreliable”.

Meng was arrested on a US warrant at Vancouver airport in late 2018, and has been battling extradition. Her detention infuriated the Chinese government and has helped drag relations between Beijing and Ottawa to their lowest point in years.

The US accuses Huawei of using a Hong Kong shell company called Skycom to sell equipment to Iran, in violation of US sanctions. It says Meng committed fraud by misleading HSBC about the company’s business dealings in Iran.

But Meng’s lawyers argued that the documents from HSBC show Huawei was open about its links to Skycom.

Meng is to appear in court in early August. Her extradition hearings are scheduled to finish by the end of that month.

Staff and agencies in Vancouver

The GuardianTramp

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