(Reuters) – U.S. prosecutors overlooked apparent violations of U.S. sanctions against Iran by HSBC Holdings in exchange for the British bank’s cooperation with a government investigation of Huawei Technologies, lawyers for the Chinese telecoms giant said.
“The government agreed to overlook HSBC’s continued misconduct, electing not to punish the bank, prosecute its executives or even extend the monitorship,” Huawei’s lawyers wrote in a Feb. 10, 2020 letter filed in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, New York. The letter was seen by Reuters on Tuesday.
In return, “HSBC agreed to cooperate with the government’s efforts to depict Huawei as the mastermind of HSBC’s sanctions violations and supply witnesses to the government’s stalled investigation of Huawei,” the lawyers wrote.
In an indictment unsealed last year, Huawei was charged by the United States with bank fraud and violating sanctions against Iran. Federal prosecutors added more charges to the case this month.
The indictment accuses Huawei and its chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, of conspiring to defraud HSBC and other banks by misrepresenting Huawei’s relationship with Skycom Tech Co Ltd, a suspected front company that operated in Iran.
The new claims by Huawei relate to a five-year deferred prosecution agreement HSBC agreed to in 2012 for disregarding rules designed to prevent money laundering and processing transactions that violated sanctions.