New evidence shows fraud accusations against Meng Wanzhou unsubstantiated

2020-07-26 06:49:40Xinhua Editor : Yao Lan ECNS App Download

Court documents released on Thursday suggest that new evidence was recently presented to the Canadian court by Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou to show that the fraud accusations against her are unsubstantiated.

On Dec. 1, 2018, Canadian authorities arrested Meng in the Vancouver airport at the behest of the U.S. Department of Justice on charges of bank fraud. The U.S. claims that Meng misled HSBC about Huawei's business in Iran.

According to documents and other public reports, the current charges against Meng are based on a PowerPoint presentation she gave to Alan Thomas, HSBC's then Asia-Pacific director of global banking back in 2013.

Evidence shows that at the meeting, which was arranged at HSBC's requests, Meng described the relationship between Skycom Tech. Co., Ltd. and Huawei's business in Iran.

New submission by Meng's counsel indicates though that the information initially submitted by the U.S. government to Canadian authorities -- the Record of Case and Supplementary Records of Case -- selectively omitted multiple critical statements made by Meng during her presentation.

The omitted statements clearly articulated Huawei's cooperative relationship with Skycom in Iran, describing how Skycom facilitates sales and services for Huawei in Iran. During the presentation, Meng also addressed the regulatory compliance measures Huawei was taking so as not to violate the U.S. relevant export controls.

This new evidence also says that during the presentation Meng admitted that Huawei had once held shares in Skycom and Meng herself was once a director of Skycom. At the time of the meeting, Huawei had sold all its shares, and Meng had resigned from her director's position.

Further expert testimony also released in this new disclosure claimed that HSBC only needed to understand that Huawei and Skycom had business cooperation in Iran to assess its own compliance risks. HSBC did not need to know or be informed of Huawei and Skycom's relationship in this case.

Meng's lawyers argue that by not disclosing this information in their original submissions, the U.S. has been "seriously misleading" Canada about the case they are bringing against Meng.

To justify its fraud charges, the U.S. has pointed to other evidence, claiming only "junior employees" of HSBC were aware of the relationship between Huawei and Skycom.

As Huawei was one of HSBC's largest customers, Meng's lawyers claim it is extremely unlikely that the bank had never performed an internal review of the negotiations, and that the senior management would have been unaware of these facts.

Meng has been under house arrest in Vancouver and is fighting against the extradition to the U.S. through the lengthy legal procedures.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokespersons have repeatedly urged Canada to release Meng and ensure her safe return to China.


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