back to article Huawei loses attempt to rescue CFO Meng from US clutches despite using 140-year-old law in High Court

Huawei has lost its novel endeavour to use a 1879 law in London as part of its efforts to get CFO Meng Wanzhou out of a US extradition tussle in Canada. The complicated High Court application was about letting Meng (and Huawei) obtain copies of internal documents from British multinational bank HSBC about a Powerpoint …

  1. msobkow Silver badge

    To quote Nelson of the Simpsons:

    "HA-HA!!!"

    :)

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No need to lie to HSBC

    Aren't they already the money launderers preferred bank? Anything for a quick buck

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    bank entries 1. Limited to account books.

    bank entries 1. Limited to account books. From my experience in international transactions. "the banker's books' refers only to entries in account ledgers. I.E. Deposits, Withdrawals, Transfers. Not internal memos, staff training or discussions or lunch or other discussions with others. Mind you my experience is very limited, covering transactions between UK and such countries as were under sanctions, where I had a licence to communicate even during sanctions.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't break my laws but I can break your laws

    How would this be going if the Chinese had forced the arrest of an American who they claimed was responsible for a shadow company set up to evade Chinese sanctions on Taiwan, thereby breaking Chinese law?

    Anonymous so that I can visit Taiwan and China again once the travel restrictions stop.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Don't break my laws but I can break your laws

      Im guess the Chinese wouldn't feel the need to bother with a pretence. They'd just "disappear" them.

      1. Breen Whitman

        Re: Don't break my laws but I can break your laws

        No they wouldn't. They will make an example of them, by holding them for breaching Chinese laws.

        A lot of international flights route through Hong Kong. Once covid-19 is over and flights are normal, HK will be like a spiders web. They'll be itching to nab the son of daughter of someone of significance.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Don't break my laws but I can break your laws

          “Once covid-19 is over and flights are normal”

          Nice fantasy.

          This pandemic is real and will last a decade.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Don't break my laws but I can break your laws

            "This pandemic is real and will last a decade."

            Like H1N1, the virus is real and will never go away.

            Also like H1N1, the hysteria around it will end and people will resume their normal activities without acknowledging how foolish they were for allowing their fear to grow so vastly out of proportion to the negligible hazard.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              WTF?

              Re: Don't break my laws but I can break your laws

              @a/c

              Quote "people will resume their normal activities without acknowledging how foolish they were for allowing their fear to grow so vastly out of proportion to the negligible hazard" Unquote.

              Negligible hazard? Are you fucking serious or are you just a dick?

              Try telling that to the families and friends of the 2,466,856 who have succumbed to this "negligible hazard".

              Source: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/#page-top

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Don't break my laws but I can break your laws

                I'm completely serious, and not a dick. The UN says 58.4 million people died in 2019, practically zero of them from COVID-19. You can have your choice of figures for individual diseases contributing to that figure, but you might find the WHO figure of 646,000 for "plain old" seasonal flu to be a useful measuring stick. The simple fact is that there are a lot of humans, which means there are a lot of humans dying. If you wanted to start from a demography-neutral point of view, there are 8 billion humans and we live 80 years; pop quiz: how many die each year of all causes? (Answer: 100 million -- the actual figure is lower because recent and ongoing population growth means the population is relatively younger than a steady-state one would be). Citing seemingly horrifying figures is pure propaganda; if 2.5 million newborns were dying of COVID-19 every year, that would represent a very alarming 4% contribution to infant mortality. The truth is nothing like that.

                COVID-19 kills almost exclusively those who are reaching or have reached the end of their natural lives. There are a lot of ways to die at age 80 that are negligible hazards at age 10 or age 40. The flu, for one. Slip on a patch of ice and land on your arse; break your hip and never recover. Shovel the snow off your lane and work just a bit too hard; drop dead of a heart attack. I could go on. Pneumonia has been a common killer of the elderly since we lived in the trees, and the addition of one more pathogen capable of causing it will have no long-term effect on our life expectancy.

                Fact: Sars-CoV2 is a negligible hazard that does not warrant disruptive policies. Fact: Those policies have been as ineffective as they have been destructive, just as they were when tried against H1N1 a century earlier. Fact: You, like every other living human, carry antibodies against H1N1 precisely because those measures do not work. Fact: You and your offspring will one day carry antibodies against Sars-CoV2 for the same reason.

                But go ahead, you've already ruined hundreds of millions of lives, lives of people who have no statistically meaningful likelihood of dying of COVID-19. You may as well double down on your insane propaganda. Admitting that you were wrong would not only force you to accept the heavy burden of guilt, it would open the floodgates to countless lawsuits. Best to just wait until it feels "safe" (i.e., you won't be shamed by your fellow propagandists) to resume business as usual and silently agree never again to speak of this disgraceful episode. Just like everyone did in 1921.

                1. DoctorNine

                  Re: Don't break my laws but I can break your laws

                  You are wrong.

                  Here's some propaganda for you:

                  1.) Over 502,000 people have died in America from this pandemic.

                  2.) More people in the US have died from COVID19 than all the US deaths in WWII.

                  3.) About five times more died here from COVID19, than all the US deaths in WWI.

                  4.) Almost ten times more have died here from COVID19, than all the US deaths in Vietnam.

                  Clearly, COVID19 is not a negligible hazard.

                  As an academic physician who is here because he dabbles in theoretical computing and simple network stuff, I don't usually comment on such idiotic spew as you have here inflicted upon us, but this is right out there. I am now, currently, taking care of these people in hospital who are the ones dying. And they are not only old people ready to die anyway. One recent victim here was a 35 yo colleague who had just been married a month before. A triathlete actually.

                  Please refrain from your non-scientific pandemic denial conspiracy theories, if you expect anyone to take you seriously. It is at very least in poor taste, if not downright offensive.

              2. amess

                Re: Don't break my laws but I can break your laws

                "Try telling that to the families and friends of the 2,466,856 who have succumbed to this "negligible hazard".

                Or the 97.786% who didn't sucumb. (same source)

          2. John Savard

            Re: Don't break my laws but I can break your laws

            The pandemic is real, but we have only a few more painful months to wait before vaccines are broadly available. It should only take weeks after that for there to be no longer a serious problem.

            1. J27

              Re: Don't break my laws but I can break your laws

              Sadly, it will likely be years before everyone in poorer countries is vaccinated and as long as that hasn't happened there will have to be restrictions, at least on international travel and there is a huge risk of mutations.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Don't break my laws but I can break your laws

        Whereas the Russians would just line their underpants in Polonium!!

      3. E 2

        Re: Don't break my laws but I can break your laws

        The two Michaels are still alive. Our diplomats visited them recently.

    2. rcxb

      Re: Don't break my laws but I can break your laws

      How would this be going if the Chinese had forced the arrest of an American who they claimed was responsible for a shadow company set up to evade Chinese sanctions on Taiwan, thereby breaking Chinese law?

      Except we're talking about international sanctions, which Canada imposed as well:

      https://www.international.gc.ca/world-monde/international_relations-relations_internationales/sanctions/iran.aspx?lang=eng

      ...not just one single country's laws.

      And China would be stupid to start making arrests like that, because the business community would absolutely start to flee the country.

      1. John Savard

        Re: Don't break my laws but I can break your laws

        Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor have already been arrested.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Don't break my laws but I can break your laws

      On the one hand, I'm pretty sympathetic to your point. A citizen of China, acting in China, owes no allegiance to American laws about transactions with Iran. The whole thing stinks to high heaven and the Americans need to stop asserting universal jurisdiction.

      On the other hand, if I as an American found myself in such a situation, I sure as hell wouldn't visit... looking for the right analogue... ah, there it is: Mongolia. As you may know, Mongolia is the colder, less populous northern neighbour to China, with a strong relationship and strong extradition treaty with China. So that would be pretty foolish, one would think. I'd either stay home where I know I can't be extradited on such a charge (and certainly not to China), or send a Chinese lawyer to answer the charges in China on my behalf and then see how that plays out before traveling.

      Ms Meng is smart enough to know better, which means she chose deliberately to become a test case. No one in her position does anything of which the Communist Party of China does not approve. She is where she is because that's where they want her. Why is anyone's guess.

      1. NotBob

        Re: Don't break my laws but I can break your laws

        Wasn't just American law broken, either. International sanctions that Canada, for instance, agreed to.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Don't break my laws but I can break your laws

          But Chinese law presumably was not, or she could as well have been prosecuted at home. And if Canada feels she violated Canadian law, why is this an extradition proceeding instead of a trial? (One possible answer is that the Canadians have demonstrated nothing but abject cowardice when it comes to China, and they may be glad of the Americans playing bad cop here.) No, this is the typical American doctrine of universal jurisdiction at work. Everyone else either claims no jurisdiction over a Chinese citizen's actions in China or does not consider a Chinese citizen in China doing business with Iran to be a violation of their own law. Exactly one country believes otherwise, and it's the one seeking Ms Meng's extradition.

          This woman and her company are vile slime, part of the corporate arm of an oppressive, destructive, and corrupt regime with no legitimacy whatsoever. The other side are different but perhaps no better. Choose between the two and regret it at once, I suppose.

          1. keith_w

            Re: Don't break my laws but I can break your laws

            The Americans are trying to extradite her for lying to HSBC about Huawei's relationship with the company that did sell HP equipment to Iran, which would have put HSBC at risk under American law. Since the alleged crime took place in the USofA, they laid charges and issued an international arrest warrant for her, which the RCMP executed. It should be noted that she lives in a mansion in Vancouver, wears a tracking bracelet and pays for guards to ensure that she does not escape, decidedly less onerous conditions than the 2 Michaels kidnapped by the Chinese Communist Party. This case has gone on entirely too long. If it were up to me, I'd toss her over the border and let her take her chances with the American justice system which no matter how bad it is, is still considerably less bad than the Chinese one.

    4. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge

      Re: Don't break my laws but I can break your laws

      How would this be going if the Chinese had forced the arrest of an American who they claimed was responsible for a shadow company set up to evade Chinese sanctions on Taiwan, thereby breaking Chinese law?

      This is China and when in China "anything goes":

      American execs in China privately express fears of retaliation for Huawei arrest

      US, China executives grow wary about travel after Huawei arrest

      Cisco warns US staff against China travel as fears grow of retaliation for Huawei arrest

  5. Gordon 10 Silver badge

    So if I've understood this right

    This was a very roundabout way of trying to find out what dirt the US has on Meng via HSBC's internal blabbering?

    Surely if its material to the extradition it should be presented as evidence directly? The fact that it hasn't suggests that the Canadian judge doesn't feel its material.

    Sounds like desperation stakes to me. But I guess when your CFO's in the clink and you're a major multinational who has to/wants to keep her you can afford to waste money and effort on long shots.

    1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: So if I've understood this right

      Once in Feraldom, the DOJ under Brady is supposed to share their evidence with the defense team. But we know that DOJ often 'loses' key evidence so it is not turned over.

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: So if I've understood this right

      >Surely if its material to the extradition it should be presented as evidence directly?

      It would have been, if it actually supported the US extradition case, so we can infer it doesn't. But that doesn't mean it is strong enough for defense purposes against extradition.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So if I've understood this right

      The US are claiming she lied to HSBC, and she's claiming she did not lie and that HSBC have internal notes saying something like "yeah we met her and agreed to help her break US sanctions, we're going to make loads of money on this deal".

      In that case, the US won't want to give that evidence to her, and it sounds like they're managing to avoid it in the Canadian case. Once she's in the US, the US law doesn't care if she was dragged there unethically and/or illegally, she can be tried anyway. So maybe she'll be able to get the evidence in the US case, but that will be too late to stop her extradition. At that point I guess the US could drop all the "lying to HSBC" charges and charge her with "breaking sanctions" instead.

      If she's in the US "I told HSBC I was breaking US sanctions" is not a good defence, since she's admitting a different crime. If she's in Canada "I told HSBC I was breaking US sanctions, and what I did was legal under Canadian law" is a very good defence to extradition. (Looks like Canada only bans exports to Iran if they are either weapons, or specialist equipment that can be used for nuclear/biological/chemical weapon production).

  6. nijam Silver badge

    > ... while the US prosecutors have these documents, they are refusing to disclose them in Canada...

    Which surely makes the extradition case pretty much a sham.

    1. Bitsminer Silver badge

      It's only an extradition, not a prosecution, and therefore the evidence is not held to the criminal conviction standard. IIRC the judge has to be shown the crime alleged is similar to a crime in Canada, and that there is some reasonable degree of evidence to support a prosecution, but not necessarily a conviction. If done satisfactorily, the judge approves the extradition.

      Also note, Meng's lawyers are scouring the planet looking for opportunities for the judge to decline to permit the extradition, or to help with the extradition appeals process, or to help (as in this case) with evidence during an eventual criminal trial in the US.

      1. Yes Me Silver badge

        Some reasonable degree of evidence

        " or to help (as in this case) with evidence during an eventual criminal trial in the US."

        It's not just that. Since the Amis are refusing to produce this evidence in the Canadian court, and Meng can claim it's necessary evidence to support an eventual acquittal, I'm sure her Canadian lawyers can make a case that the Canadian judge therefore doesn't have enough information to approve the extradiation, and/or that she may face an unfair trial in the US. At least I hope so, since this witch-hunt started by the tRump administration needs to end.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Some reasonable degree of evidence

          "this witch-hunt started by the tRump administration needs to end"

          Nice try, but Mr Trump is no longer a fair whipping-boy. The day Mr Biden took office, he gained the authority to ask the Canadian court to dismiss the case (the court could refuse to grant this request, but that would be extremely irregular in this type of case, not to mention bizarrely pointless). If he didn't wish to do that himself, he is free to order the DoJ to do it, and to replace officials there with those who will carry out his orders. This case is proceeding because, whether you like it or not, Mr Biden wants it to. Whether it should is another matter, but invoking the name of the much-hated last guy out the door to bolster your argument isn't cricket.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. ImranP

    It is very clear that the US wants Meng very badly. It is an injustice when the accused is not given access to HSBC documents that can proved her innocence. Other offenders whether Banks or individuals are only given a fine while Meng was threatened with jail time. Anyway, what right does the US have to insists that no one can have any business relationships with a country that they sanctioned?

    1. chasil

      exculpatory evidence

      Checking google, it appears that U.S. criminal prosecution is required to share evidence with defense due to a law passed in 1963:

      https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/brady_rule

      I don't know if the prosecution is required to share any requested evidence before extradition (I would think that Huawei council would have acted if so).

      We also know from the Flynn proceedings that much exculpatory evidence was "misplaced" and not reported, which dims the hopes of a fair trial.

      1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        Re: exculpatory evidence

        which dims the hopes of a fair trial.

        Assuming one had any.

    2. doublelayer Silver badge

      "Anyway, what right does the US have to insists that no one can have any business relationships with a country that they sanctioned?"

      None. And if that's what they had a problem with, then they would not be able to prosecute. However, your statement indicates you don't understand what their case is. Let me enlighten you.

      It is illegal for a U.S. business to do business with Iran, because they are in the U.S. and U.S. sanctions on Iran restrict their actions. Those sanctions do not apply to countries outside the U.S. If a Chinese company decides to sell to Iran, that's perfectly legal and the U.S. does not have any legal right to prosecute that.

      Banks which want to operate in the U.S. have to follow the U.S. laws just like any other banks. This means they can't do business with Iran. If they invested money in something which was designed to send that money to Iran, they'd be breaking a law in the U.S. In this case, the U.S. claims that a company was set up as a Huawei subsidiary to do business with Iran, but that company wanted money from banks. Under U.S. law, U.S. banks aren't allowed to invest in companies like that, so they were limited to banks which don't operate in the U.S. That doesn't leave many large banks. Instead of using one of the remaining banks, they chose to get around that problem by lying to the U.S. banks, telling them that what they were doing was legal. That is fraud. Fraud in order to get a company to invest is illegal nearly everywhere. That's what the case is about. Do you understand now why your complaint is without merit?

      1. Yes Me Silver badge
        WTF?

        Allegation

        SkyCom, the alleged shell company, is not a US company. Where did the alleged misleading of a US bank allegedly take place? HSBC is not principally a US bank anyway; it's British, hence the recent case in London.

        1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

          Re: Allegation

          HSBC is doing (international) transactions in US Dollars. This gives the American legal system enough of an excuse to claim jurisdiction.

        2. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: Allegation

          HSBC operates in the United States. It sends money to and receives money from U.S. banks using U.S. infrastructure and has U.S. clients. It has the choice not to do these things. Please note that it's not just dollars. A bank can hold a bunch of dollars if it wants without coming under U.S. jurisdiction. If it operates in U.S. financial markets, then it has to follow U.S. laws. Banks have the choice not to do this if they don't want to follow U.S. law. There are banks which do it. The large ones usually decide that there's more money in operating in the U.S. than operating in Iran, and they choose U.S.

          HSBC did choose to operate in the U.S. And they chose this knowing their requirements. If the allegations are true, they asked SkyCom if what they were doing was going to be illegal under U.S. law. SkyCom said no. SkyCom was lying.

          1. Zolko Silver badge

            Re: Allegation

            @doublelayer : do you realise it's obvious to everybody that you're making this all up ? There is 0 (zero) legal ground here, apart from the US petro-dollar empire saying: we decide everything on Earth. The exact same applies also to North-Stream 2 and Ramstein of course.

            You're time is coming to end, don't you hear the winds of change ?

          2. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: Allegation

            @doublelayer - Keep it simple. The US regards any company - US registered or not, that wishes to operate a US subsidary, as a US HQ'd company and thus subject to US laws on its global operations. Ie. the US thinks and wants the rest of the world to abide by US domestic law.

            1. doublelayer Silver badge

              Re: Allegation

              That's not as unusual as you describe it. As a parallel, consider how GDPR works. EU member states enacted GDPR, which operates on any company that operates in the EU, whether that's based in the EU or not. If they don't want to obey that law, they have the freedom not to operate there. If they do, they come under the regulation and can be fined on global turnover. The same logic applies here. HSBC uses U.S. money from U.S. clients. That means the U.S. can require them to follow U.S. law.

    3. UncleVom

      It is very clear that the US wanted (past tense) Meng very badly.

      Joe Biden is now lumbered with it and is already in some eyes too China friendly so I think it is going to continue to play out.

      I think is really all stems from the Big Orange's lunches with Tim Apple and it is or was all really about cell phones. Take a look at Samsung's eating of the iPhone pie, now imagine how scary Huawei looked to Apple before it was choked off.

  8. Winkypop Silver badge
    Big Brother

    America

    The US can show China a thing or two about stage trials.

  9. Paper
    Facepalm

    As A Canadian...

    I just want her gone. Send her back to China! "Accidental" release, "escaped", "chinese kidnapping" - whatever needs to be done to get her out, do it. You think America would hold someone like this for us? They won't even build a pipeline, let alone hold people for fraud against Canada...

    1. J27

      Re: As A Canadian...

      They should send her to justice in the USA. The Americans would have done this for us and they wouldn't have tied it up in worthless trials for years.

      1. E 2

        Re: As A Canadian...

        We have laws governing extradition. It is not the case that Trump says "grab that woman and send her to me" and we do it no questions asked.

        We should arrange her release though, because the Americans had 4 years already to make their case and that's long enough. Trump used her as a tool to push a wedge between Canada and China: he did not want us making a diplomatic deals (especially a trade deal) with China because that would call into question his claims of being a great deal maker.

  10. John Savard

    Hostage?

    Sorry, the only hostages in this series of events are Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.

    It's too bad the United States is not in a position to do Canada the favor of bringing about regime change in China.

  11. FlamingDeath Silver badge

    Politics is a shitty business

    Full of shitty people

    Doing shitty things

  12. E 2

    TBH, Trump is gone, her usefulness to him in keeping Canada and China from making a trade deal of their own is no more. We should just release her. If the Americans actually wanted her they had Trump's entire 4 years to make a case. They didn't...

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      I think you'll find they did and are still doing it. If you have lots of lawyers who keep appealing and pulling out new reasons to reconsider, it gets longer. Also, she was detained in late 2018. They've only had two years.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Obviously somewhat different when they’re allegedly deliberately trying to break sanctions, but the US DPL (denied parties listing) was very poor quality when I worked with compliance for the first time. I seem to recall a town called Basingstroke (sic) in Hampshire and possibly Glascow in Scotland too. No wonder we had to use soundex and still didn’t stop anything shipping as the rate of false positives was so high that stopping the truck before it reached the ferry out of ROÍ was a cheaper option.

  14. arachnoid2

    Missing data

    The UK could accidentally lose some more data thus setting her free.............

  15. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921

    Foiled Chinese Takehuawei

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