British banks may have been used for illicit payments related to Huawei: WSJ

British banks Standard Chartered and HSBC were reportedly among financial institutions misled by Chinese technology giant Huawei into funneling illicit payments from Iran, The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday, citing sources familiar with the matter.

According to the Journal, Huawei allegedly used a third-party intermediary — a small Hong Kong-based technology firm called Skycom — to channel payments between the company and Iran. The Journal reported that a spokesman for Huawei declined to comment.

Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou was arrested during a layover in Vancouver, Canada on Dec. 1 at the request of U.S. authorities. Beijing has threatened unspecified “severe consequences” if Canadian courts don’t release Meng, the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei. Meng returns to court for a bail hearing Monday.

Both HSBC and Standard Chartered are based in the U.K., and both have been under scrutiny from global regulators for past money-laundering violations. The two banks also have had federal monitors in place to watch for the types of transactions described in the Huawei filings — but neither bank has been accused of any wrongdoing as part of this case.

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