Undaunted by the recent refusal of a High Court Judge in the UK, Ms Meng’s lawyers have now launched fresh proceedings against HSBC in Hong Kong to try and gain access to internal documentation central to the US authorities’ case against her.
HSBC, which is headquartered in the UK, found itself fighting a civil High Court application under a well-used and powerful statute dating back to 1879. Ultimately, the court decided that the Act did not allow access to all types of documents in the bank’s possession, and it was also found that the court didn’t have jurisdiction to compel the bank to hand over material. A particular document sought in the application was a Powerpoint presentation Ms Meng is said to have given to the bank in Hong Kong in 2013. It is said that HSBC was misled as to the true ownership and control of a company called Skycom by Huawei, in that it was denied that Huawei had ownership and control of Skycom, thus exposing the bank to violation of US sanctions targeting Iran. (See our previous blog on this case here.)
The focus has now shifted to Hong Kong, where a court will be asked to consider whether documents should be made available to Ms Meng in her fight against a US extradition request, which is scheduled to be heard in a Canadian court later this month.
With the instigation of fresh proceedings, the case remains in the forefront of public consciousness across the globe, and highlights the geo-political nature of the extradition proceedings. The Canadian court finds itself being asked to determine on issues which have seemingly led to political spats between the US, China and Canada. Furthermore, if the Hong Kong courts find in Ms Meng’s favour, then documents to which her legal team had previously been denied access by the Canadian court, may well now feature.
How matters develop and pan out over the course of the next few weeks, and the success or otherwise of the global litigation strategy will be interesting to see. What is clear from these proceedings, and the many cases that our team have dealt with, is that extradition requests are not necessarily confined to issues between a requesting state and the state being asked to determine the validity of the extradition request. There are many facets to be considered, especially where there are multi-layered political elements, and therefore a strategic approach with experience across a broad spectrum of jurisdictions will be key in presenting the best possible challenges to the extradition request.
The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.
Solicitor in our White Collar Crime Defence Team