The US Department of Justice is discussing a deal with Huawei Technologies chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou that would allow her to return home to China from Canada, where she was arrested on a US extradition warrant two years ago, in exchange for admitting wrongdoing, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.
The criminal case relates to allegations that Meng breached US sanctions on Iran on Huawei’s behalf and has strained relations between China, Canada and the US.
Lawyers for Meng, who faces wire and bank fraud charges, have spoken to Justice Department officials in recent weeks about the possibility of reaching a “deferred prosecution agreement”, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
Under such an agreement, which prosecutors usually use with companies but rarely grant to individuals, Meng would be required to admit to some of the allegations against her but prosecutors would agree to potentially defer and later drop the charges if she cooperated, the people said.
Meng has so far resisted the proposed deal, believing she did nothing wrong, the report said.
She declined to comment through a Huawei spokesman. A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment. Canadian officials did not immediately return requests for comment.
Meng was arrested in December 2018 as she transferred planes in Vancouver, sparking a diplomatic dispute between China and Canada. She has been allowed bail and is living in her home in the western Canadian city as the extradition case goes through the courts.
Days after Meng’s arrest, two Canadians, businessman Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, a senior analyst with the International Crisis Group, were detained in China. Held without access to lawyers or family, China only formally confirmed their arrest in May 2019. It began prosecuting them on charges of espionage in June, and has said there is no connection with Meng’s arrest.