The Strategist

HSBC denies collusion with US authorities against Huawei

07/28/2020 - 06:32

British bank HSBC said it did not collude with the United States to harm the Chinese tech corporation Huawei, but only cooperated with an investigation by the American authorities. The bank's statement, made on Chinese social networks, was a response to a publication of HSBC's in the Chinese media accusations that the bank had lured Huawei into a trap.

In December 2018, Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada at the request of the United States. The US accuses her of misleading her partners at HSBC bank to avoid sanctions for trade with Iran. The charges are largely based on documents that were provided to the HSBC investigation. HSBC's statement was the first since the beginning of this situation: the bank, whose activities are largely concentrated around the Asia-Pacific region, had to express its position after articles in the Chinese media. Similar articles have appeared in Chinese newspapers in the past over the past year, with Huawei's lawyers also claiming that the US Department of Justice forced the bank to present the case as if Huawei pushed it to violate US sanctions.

HSBC said it passed on information regarding Huawei in response to a request from the US prosecutor's office and that it was not a "trap" for the Chinese company. The bank noted that it was not involved in the decision of the US Department of Justice to initiate an investigation against Huawei or the arrest of Ms. Meng, and does not act hostility towards the Chinese company, but only observes the rules.

In June, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused the Chinese authorities of putting pressure on the UK through Huawei and HSBC. Mr. Pompeo recalled that the CEO of Asia-Pacific bank HSBC Peter Wong signed a petition in support of "Beijing's disastrous decision to destroy Hong Kong's autonomy and violate the obligations assumed in the UN-registered treaty." The secretary of state claims that the bank's business in China is being used as "political leverage against London."