Two Chinese intelligence officers have been criminally charged with attempting to obstruct the prosecution of the Huawei global telecommunications company by trying to steal confidential information about the case, Attorney General Merrick Garland said Monday.
Garland also announced two more criminal cases related to efforts by the Chinese government to interfere in U.S. affairs.
One in New Jersey charges three Chinese intelligence agents with conspiring to act in the United States as illegal agents on behalf of a foreign government.
The other in the Eastern District of New York accuses several people working on behalf of the Chinese government of “engaging in a multi-year campaign of threats and harassment to force a U.S. resident to return to China,” Garland said.
Photo of He and Wang respectively included in D.O.J. complaint.
“Last Thursday, we arrested two of those defendants,” the attorney general said.
“As these cases demonstrate, the government of China sought to interfere with the rights and freedoms of individuals in the United States and to undermine our judicial system that protects those rights,” Garland said.
“They did not succeed,” he added.
The criminal complaint related to Huawei accuses Guochun He and Zheng Wang of paying a U.S. government employee a total of $61,000 worth of Bitcoin cryptocurrency for confidential information about the Justice Department’s pending prosecution of the China-based company.
That information included details about witnesses, trial evidence and potential new charges to be brought against Huawei, according to the complaint in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn.
Huawei is not identified by name in the complaint, but details in it match up with the known prosecution of the company.
“This was an egregious attempt by [People’s Republic of China] intelligence officers to shield a PRC-based company from accountability and to undermine the integrity of our judicial system,” Garland said.
The complaint said the men cultivated a relationship with the government employee in February 2017, but that the other person “subsequently began working as a double agent for the U.S. government.”
“Since becoming a double agent [the government employee]’s continued contact with He and Wang occurred under the supervision of the FBI,” the complaint says.
The employee provided He and Wang “various information at their request, including purportedly sensitive information about the U.S. government’s criminal case against” Huawei at the direction of the FBI, according to the complaint.
In addition to obstruction of justice, the complaint charges the two defendants with money laundering for their alleged transferring of Bitcoin used to bribe their purported informant.