The previously unreported ties between Huawei and the two companies could bear on the U.S. case against Meng, who is the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, by further undermining Huawei's claims that Skycom was merely an arms-length business partner.
As part of their case against her, US prosecutors have accused Meng of using two companies to clear transactions with Iran.
The case against Meng revolves around Huawei's ties to two small companies.
Meng Wanzhou herself, then going by the name "Cathy Meng" served on the board of Hong Kong-based Skycom Tech Co. Meng allegedly told the banks that the two companies were independent of Huawei, allowing the transactions in Iran to go through without any hesitation.
Huawei is not the first Chinese telecoms equipment firm to face the ire of U.S. authorities.More news: We do not support inappropriate comments: Virat Kohli
A Reuters investigation now provided new evidence to suggest the two shells are far from independent, revealing how a number of Huawei officials previously held positions at the entities in question, whereas three Chinese individuals represented both the Shenzhen-based firm and Skycom in dealings with Iranian banks. The records show that a high-level Huawei executive has been appointed Skycom's Iran manager and that at least 3 Chinese-named individuals had signing rights for both Huawei and Skycom's bank accounts. Meng allegedly told a U.S. bank executive that Huawei had sold its shares in Skycom in 2009. Skycom was voluntarily liquidated in 2017, and Canicula received $132,000.
According to previous Reuters reports, which are apparently being used in the case against Meng, Skycom in 2010 offered to sell Hewlett-Packard computers worth 1.3 million ($1.5 million, at today's exchange rate) to Iran's biggest mobile operator.
Meng, 46, reportedly faces U.S. accusations that she misled multinational banks about Huawei's control of a couple of companies operating in Iran. Payments were taken out of the country using the global banking system.
According to USA prosecutors Huawei officials lied to worldwide banks about their relationship with Skycom Tech Co. The liquidator, Chan Leung Lee, of BDO Ltd in Hong Kong, declined to comment.
The subsidiary, Canicula, is connected to Iran through MTN Syria, which has a subsidiary that operates in Iran.More news: Thunder loses double OT thriller at San Antonio
In addition to Iran, Canicula also operated in Syria as recently as October 2017, after USA sanctions against that country were put in place.
In Syria, Reuters tracked down a letter written by Osama Karawani, a Middle Eastern lawyer, to business website Aliqtisadi.com. In his letter, which was linked to on the Aliqtisadi website, he said Huawei was still in business. Though Huawei had apparently tried to cover its tracks - presumably after catching wind of the United States investigation - by publishing notices proclaiming that Canicula was no longer operating in Syria.
"Huawei was never dissolved", he wrote; he added that it "has been and is still operating in Syria through several companies which are Huawei Technologies Ltd and Canicula Holdings Ltd". The world's largest telecom hardware manufacturer remains adamant it doesn't control the companies in question and is still insisting it has no evidence of any wrongdoing on Ms. Meng's part. MTN has a joint venture in Iran MTN Irancell that is also a Huawei customer.
The New York Times said the company had been subpoenaed by the US Commerce and Treasury Departments over alleged violations of Iran and North Korea sanctions.
But the most damning quote comes at the very end of the story, and is attributed to an anonymous source with knowledge of Huawei's history in the region: "Skycom was just a front" for Huawei.More news: Hot! Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas’ honeymoon pictures from the Caribbean
In December 2017, a notice was placed in a Syrian newspaper by "the General Director of the branch of the company Canicula Ltd". No explanation was given.