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Business Crime specialist, David Walbank QC, releases video case review of Meng v HSBC Plc [2021] 2 WLR 1153

30. Jul 2021

The latest featured case on CrimeCastLaw.Law, David Walbank QC’s criminal law updating website, is Meng v HSBC Plc [2021] 2 WLR 1153.

Fordham J, sitting in the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court, handed down a judgment which arises from one of the most high-profile international criminal prosecutions currently in the news. On 1 December 2018, Meng Wanzhou, CEO of the Chinese telecom giant, Huawei, and daughter of the company’s founder, the 76-year old Ren Zhengfei, was taken into custody by officers of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police whilst transiting to a connecting flight at Vancouver Airport. She has been held in Canada ever since, awaiting the outcome of extradition proceedings that could yet see her sent to the United States to stand trial on charges of fraud in violation of U.S. sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Meng’s British lawyers, Mishcon de Reya, applied to a High Court Judge in London for an order under the Bankers’ Books Evidence Act 1879 to be directed not to the US prosecutors but to HSBC itself, requiring the bank to allow Meng and her lawyers access to a number of categories of banking records to be deployed in the extradition proceedings currently pending before the Supreme Court of British Columbia.

Fordham J’s judgment addressed, in particular, whether that UK Act of Parliament can be resorted to by litigants abroad in aid of legal proceedings in other jurisdictions and also whether the scope of the statute extends to business documents held by a bank other than transactional records, including, for example, documents created and held by the bank for the purposes of regulatory compliance.

Meng Wanzhou’s final extradition hearing in the Supreme Court of British Columbia is fixed to take place in the summer of this year, August 2021. Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes will rule on whether to stay the proceedings or allow the extradition to go ahead. If Her Ladyship allows the case to proceed, the final decision on whether Meng Wanzhou is sent to the United States for trial will rest with the Canadian Justice Minister. If Meng does finally end up on US soil, she faces up to 30 years in gaol.

David Walbank QC specialises in Business Crime (Serious and Complex Fraud, Bribery & Corruption and Money Laundering & the Proceeds of Crime) and in Homicide (Murder & Manslaughter). His CrimeCast.Law website now includes more than 140 video case reviews, For free and instant access to ‘The Key Cases of 2021’, ‘The Top 50 Cases of 2020’, ‘The Top 50 Cases of 2019’ and ‘Ten Recent Cases on Criminal Appeals’, visit [Crime Cast Law].

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