Huawei says HSBC agrees document access in Hong Kong court
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Hong Kong (AFP) –
Chinese tech giant Huawei on Monday said it had reached an agreement with HSBC in Hong Kong to secure documents that its senior executive Meng Wanzhou hopes will help her fight extradition to the United States from Canada.
Chief financial officer Meng -- whose father is the company's founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei -- has been in a two-year battle against extradition over allegations that Huawei violated US sanctions on Iran.
Meng is accused in the US of defrauding HSBC by falsely misrepresenting links between Huawei and a company that sold telecoms equipment to Iran.
Her legal team has been trying to access documents from HSBC that they say will help exonerate Meng.
A previous attempt to secure the documents at Britain's High Court was dismissed in February.
Meng's lawyers turned to the courts in Hong Kong, where London-headquartered HSBC has a major presence and makes most of its profits.
"An agreement has been reached with HSBC in relation to the Hong Kong legal proceedings for document production and an order has been approved by the Court," Huawei said in a brief statement on Monday.
It did not give any further details on what documents HSBC had agreed to hand over. HSBC did not respond to requests for comment.
The two sides had a scheduled court hearing on Monday but the gathering lasted little more than a minute with Huawei's lawyers informing the judge that a deal had been reached, an AFP reporter in court said.
Meng is accused in the US of hiding Huawei's relationship with former subsidiary Skycom in Iran from HSBC bank.
According to the original Huawei summons, seen by AFP, Meng was seeking HSBC bank documents on compliance, sanctions and risk evaluation as well as records linked to a PowerPoint presentation.
She has denied hiding Huawei's relationship with Skycom from HSBC. Her extradition case in Vancouver is expected to end in mid-May, barring appeals.
Meng's was arrested on a US warrant during a Vancouver stopover in December 2018, sparking a major diplomatic rift between Canada and China.
Soon after Beijing arrested two Canadian citizens -- former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor -- on national security charges.
They disappeared into authoritarian China's opaque legal system and were recently tried in secret for espionage with a verdict yet to be announced.
Chinese officials have given conflicting messages on the detentions, denying the move was retaliation but also making it clear that the two Canadians' fates are tied to that of Meng's.
Kovrig and Spavor have had almost no contact with the outside world since their detention, and virtual consular visits only resumed in October after a nine-month hiatus that authorities said was due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In contrast, Meng remains under house arrest at her Vancouver mansion, has access to lawyers and her extradition hearings are held in open court.
© 2021 AFP