Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday declined to comment on reports of a potential deal involving a senior Huawei executive being held under house arrest in Vancouver.
He said his “top priority” was the release of two Canadians being held in China as retaliation. The Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, were arrested right after Canadians detained the telecommunication giant’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, on a U.S. warrant in December 2018. She has been fighting extradition to the U.S.
“We will continue working hard for the return of the two Michaels,” Trudeau said, according to Reuters.
“Two years is a very long time to be in prison in China, or anywhere,” Trudeau said at a news conference. “We will continue to do all the work that’s necessary to get them back.”
On Thursday, Reuters reported that U.S. prosecutors and lawyers for Huawei were discussing a deal to end Meng’s case under a deferred prosecution agreement.
Under such a deal, Meng would have to admit to some of the allegations of wrongdoing, and prosecutors would agree to “potentially defer and later drop charges if she cooperated,” The Wall Street Journal reported.
Meng is charged with bank fraud, with the U.S. alleging she misled HSBC Holdings Plc about Huawei’s business activities in Iran, which is under U.S. sanctions.
In addition to arresting the two Canadians, China also stopped buying canola seed from Canada.