Editorial: HSBC must help free Meng

Giant Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank Corporation found a technicality in London’s High Court in order to keep secret the evidence it provided the US government for the prosecution of Meng Wanzhou. The case has now moved to Hong Kong, where deference to US security interests is not so powerful.

HSBC is at the center of the case, which centers on a briefing by Meng in Hong Kong. It has a moral obligation to release all the evidence in the case.

It also has a practical reason to release the evidence. HSBC is vulnerable to backlash from China.

About 35 per cent of its bank accounts are [in Hong Kong.] In 2019, pre-tax profits from Hong Kong and China totalled $14.9 billion — more than the company’s entire profits of $13.3 billion after losses in other markets, such as the UK, were accounted for.

Jamie Nimmo @JamieNimmo63 Curse of Huawei case deepens HSBC’s Chinese nightmare

The case against Meng is clearly selective prosecution with a political purpose. She is not being charged with breaking the US blockade of Iran, which probably would not stand up in International law. The substance of the charge is trivial. The US has blown up the significance of a slide in a presentation by Meng in China.

If selling to Iran deserved prosecution, the CEOs of Samsung and Nokia would be on their way to jail. Samsung is the number one phone seller in Iran. I’ve been reporting for years Nokia has a large team selling in the country.

According to the Times, HSBC has often been caught breaking the law.

December 2012
Signs five-year deferred prosecution agreement with US authorities after admitting it processed drug-trafficking proceeds in Mexico and funds from sanctioned countries, including Iran. HSBC settles for $1.9 billion

November 2014
Agrees to pay $618 million over involvement in foreign exchange rate-rigging scandal

November 2017
Agrees to pay €300 million to settle investigation into tax evasion by French citizens via its Swiss private bank

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