Meng Wanzhou has lost her bid to introduce new evidence from Hong Kong court regarding Huawei Technologies’ banking relationship with HSBC.
Both the Crown and the defence of Huawei’s CFO – who has been kept in Vancouver since her arrest on Dec. 1, 2018 on a U.S. extradition request – made their cases last week on whether to introduce the new documents into the case in front of BC Supreme Court Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes.
At a court appearance this afternoon, Holmes said she will release reasons for her decision at a later date, but confirmed that the new Hong Kong court documents regarding HSBC will not be included into the proceedings.
"The HSBC documents will not be admitted," Holmes said, adding her written reasons will arrive in 10-days' time.
The hearings will now move to Aug. 3 for three weeks of argument over the last branch of abuse of process allegations made by Meng against U.S. and Canadian authorities - as well as the final committal portion of the proceedings.
Before then, there is one more case management hearing scheduled for July 29.
In a statement released after today's hearing, Huawei officials reiterated their disappointment over Holmes' decision, since they still believe the documents to be key in showing U.S. accounts of the case "manifestly unreliable."
"Even though the court did not permit Ms. Meng to introduce additional evidence, the new documents demonstrate clearly that HSBC, including its senior executives, were aware of Huawei’s relationship with Skycom and its business in Iran," the Huawei statement said.
The proposed new evidence included e-mails and internal documents from HSBC that, according to the defence, shows that the bank’s senior officials knew exactly what the relationship between Huawei and a subsidiary, Skycom, was prior to deciding to continue providing credit facilities to the Chinese tech giant.
U.S. authorities say that Meng misrepresented Skycom’s relationship with Huawei to HSBC in a 2013 meeting in Hong Kong, thus exposing the bank to punishment for Skycom’s operations in Iran (in violation of U.S. sanctions at the time).
One matter that did also emerge Friday was the PowerPoint presentation Meng made to HSBC during that 2013 meeting. The court had previously allowed only a portion of that presentation to be introduced in August's final arguments, but Holmes noted that Meng appeared to agree with the Crown last week - during the argument for introducing the HSBC documents - that the full PowerPoint should be introduced.
Holmes said she is now considering including the PowerPoint presentation in full in the hearings - but only if Meng's defence still agreed to their previous positions despite losing its bid to introduce the HSBC evidence. Defence lawyers and Crown attorneys responded by saying they both need to reconsider their positions on the matter before addressing the court.
HSBC’s risk exposure to Huawei/Skycom is one of the central U.S. charges against Meng, as authorities say her misrepresentations in 2013 amounted to fraud. Meng has maintained that HSBC’s senior officials – not just junior members as the U.S. noted in its record of the case – knew that Skycom operated under Huawei’s banking accounts and e-mail addresses while also having the company’s holding company’s board consisting completely of Huawei officials.
The new evidence sought to be introduced resulted in Holmes delaying an original decision on Meng’s extradition to the U.S. from May to what appears to be a time frame after August, when the final committal phase of the extradition hearings will now take place.