WSJ report: U.S. talking to Meng Wanzhou about release in exchange for admission of guilt

Huawei CFO faces U.S. charges of fraud, money laundering and sanctions violations

Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou. iStock/BIV File

American authorities are reportedly in talks with Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. CFO Meng Wanzhou about a resolution to her extradition case, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

According to the report, the U.S. Justice Department’s discussions with Meng would require the Chinese tech executive to admit guilt in her fraud, money laundering and sanctions violations charges. In exchange, the United States would drop the extradition request, allowing Meng to return to China.

BIV has not been able to independently verify the veracity of the report.

Meng has been kept in Vancouver for the last two years while Crown counsel and Huawei lawyers battle over a number of issues in court during her ongoing extradition hearings. She and Huawei are accused of illegally operating in Iran – a market with which the United States had trade sanctions – deceiving bank HSBC to secure services and funnelling the proceeds through the U.S. banking system.

The Huawei executive has maintained her innocence, noting she clearly outlined her company’s role in Iran to HSBC executives in a PowerPoint presentation in 2013. She also denied all other charges, making the case that the accusations are politically motivated (as U.S. President Donald Trump said he may consider Meng a bargaining chip in trade negotiations with Beijing).

Legal experts in Vancouver said that – with the case currently undergoing the witness testimony phase, turning up substantial amounts of evidence for BC Supreme Court Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes to sift through – Meng’s stay in Vancouver will likely drag on for years unless there is a change in Washington’s position that the Huawei executive must be extradited to the United States to face charges.

The hearings will continue next Monday.