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Legal filings show HSBC is US' 'accomplice' in Meng case

By Ma Si | | Updated: 2020-07-24 21:41
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FILE PHOTO: Huawei Technologies Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou leaves her home to attend a court hearing in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on May 27, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

The latest court filings of Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou's case showed Meng was falsely charged, and HSBC played the role of Washington's accomplice to politicize the case, observers said.

Zhang Tengjun, assistant research fellow at the Beijing-based China Institute of International Studies, said Meng's case is "essentially a political game the US government has been playing to derail China's technology development… the US government …cannot accept (Huawei) as a global leader in 5G technology."

"The case is purely politically driven," Zhang added.

Meng is accused of lying to an HSBC executive in Hong Kong in August 2013 about Huawei's relationship with Skycom, a company which the US government charged violated its sanctions on Iran.

But in new court filings published on Thursday local time, Meng's lawyers are arguing the documents submitted by US prosecutors have been improperly tailored to support the accusation against Meng. They said US prosecutors have selectively quoted evidence, causing inaccuracies and distortions in several aspects, including the summary of the PowerPoint presentation Meng is alleged to have given to the HSBC executive.

The defense team said the summary of the PPT is misleading because it left out critical disclosures Meng made in the PPT regarding Huawei's relationship with Skycom.

The omitted statements include "As a business partner of Huawei, Skycom works with Huawei in sales and service in Iran" and Huawei "has a normal and controllable business cooperation with Skycom".

They argued the omissions show Meng gave the bank the facts it needed to assess the risk of doing business with Huawei.

HSBC did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Observers said the banking institution has played an improper role in Meng's case, which undermined its credibility as a trustworthy partner, and that HSBC has provided crucial "evidence" to the US side that served to misrepresent the facts in the case against Meng. It represented a deliberate coordination with the US government.

Meng's lawyers also argued HSBC claimed it had extended $900 million to Huawei following Meng's alleged lies, but the bank's portion of that amount was actually $80 million, and the $900 million was never drawn by Huawei.

Arrested in December 2018 by Canadian police at the US' request, Meng remains under detention in Canada after a Canadian judge ruled in May the extradition case against Meng could proceed. Both Meng and Huawei have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

In new court filings, Meng's legal team is also alleging abuse of process by the US government and seeking a stay of extradition proceedings, a request expected to be heard in court in early 2021, according to a report from Canadian outlet The Globe and Mail.

Noting senior members of the US administration intend to use Meng "as a bargaining chip in a trade dispute," Meng's lawyers said the US government's stated willingness to intervene in the case is "offensive and ominous".

"These proceedings have been poisoned. They can no longer be reasonably regarded as fair, regardless of the undoubted good faith of the court," the Huawei CFO's legal team said.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said in May that China expresses its strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition to a Canadian court's ruling on the case against Meng, and has made solemn representations to Canada on the issue.

Last month, Zhao said the case is a "serious political incident," which has revealed the US' political calculations to purposefully suppress Huawei and other Chinese tech companies.

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