Huawei has launched legal proceedings against HSBC in Hong Kong as part of its fight to prevent the extradition of Meng Wanzhou, its chief financial officer and daughter of the company founder, from Canada to the United States.
Latest legal battle comes just days after a judge at England’s High Court refused Huawei’s request to force the bank to hand over internal documents which, according to the telecoms equipment manufacturer, are essential to its efforts.
The trial will be a key test of Hong Kong’s legal system amid the feud between Huawei and US officials, which has exacerbated tensions between Washington and Beijing.
It will also highlight HSBC, which is headquartered in the UK but which makes most of its profits in Asia. The lender has struggled to deal with geopolitical tensions between the US, UK and China in recent years.
Meng’s attorneys are trying to stop his extradition to the United States on charges of bank and electronic fraud linked to allegations that Huawei conducted business in Iran in violation of US sanctions through a subsidiary called Skycom. Huawei denies the allegations.
The bank provided information to U.S. prosecutors pursuing the case against Meng and Huawei, which infuriated executives at the telecommunications group, the Financial Times. reported. HSBC has been threatened with being added to China’s “untrusted entities” list.
The documents relate to a meeting between Meng and HSBC bankers at a restaurant in Hong Kong in 2013, when the Chinese tech firm’s relationship with Skycom was discussed.
The bank, according to an indictment, said Huawei had “repeatedly misrepresented” its business operations in Iran. Huawei disputes that HSBC was deceived, and its lawyers have argued that Meng’s legal team needed access to documents the bank provided to U.S. officials to defend against the allegations.
Earlier this month, London High Court Judge Fordham said he lacked jurisdiction to make the order requested by Huawei.
In a statement, Huawei said its lawsuit in Hong Kong was “a request to obtain evidence under Hong Kong law to prove it.” [Meng’s] innocence with regard to the allegations made against her. HSBC declined to comment.