Attorney General Merrick Garland just announced the arrest of two Chinese intelligence officers who attempted to bribe a federal official to gain access to United States secrets. Officials for the People’s Republic of China, also known as the PRC, infiltrated the U.S. government in a power play to subvert our democracy and stop the investigation into a China-based technology company.
Now: Two Chinese intelligence officers tried to bribe a U.S. law-enforcement official to obtain what they believed was inside information about the U.S. criminal case against Chinese telecommunications giant @Huawei, the Justice Department said. w/@dnvolz https://t.co/eJ2hVyuHDS
— Sadie Gurman (@sgurman) October 24, 2022
Garland rolled out three different cases involving separate alleged schemes during a press conference on Monday. One case charges seven Chinese nationals with trying to forcefully repatriate a Chinese national. Four others were charged in an intelligence scheme that allegedly targeted individuals in the U.S. to convince them to act on China’s behalf. And two other men were charged with interfering in a U.S. criminal prosecution of a global telecommunications company, NBC News reported.
In a coordinated plot coined “Operation Foxhunt,” China interfered in not only America’s judicial process but its democracy. Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said:
“As alleged, the case involves an effort by PRC intelligence officers to obstruct an ongoing criminal prosecution by making bribes to obtain files from this Office and sharing them with a global telecommunications company that is a charged defendant in an ongoing prosecution. We will always act decisively to counteract criminal acts that target our system of justice.”
The authoritarian government launched a full-scale intimidation campaign to repatriate Chinese nationals back to the country, in violation of U.S. law. But unbeknownst to the foreign operatives, they were working with a double agent.
“According to court documents, Guochun He, also known as “Dong He” and “Jacky He,” and Zheng Wang, also known as “Zen Wang,” allegedly orchestrated a scheme to steal files and other information from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York related to the ongoing federal criminal investigation and prosecution of a global telecommunications company (Company-1) based in the PRC, including by paying approximately $61,000 in Bitcoin bribes to a U.S. government employee who the defendants believed had been recruited to work for the PRC, but who in fact was a double agent working on behalf of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI),” the DOJ press release stated.
Nearly a dozen people were charged in the Department of Justice’s investigation stemming from 2019 against Chinese telecommunications company Huawei. Accused of stealing trade secrets, Huawei has been under the gun for years in the federal government’s probe.
He and Wang reportedly paid an undercover agent $61,000 in Bitcoin to steal confidential information and pass along information regarding witnesses and the prosecution’s evidence against the telecom giant.
Of the crackdown, U.S. Attorney Peace said “Today’s complaint underscores the unrelenting efforts of the PRC government to undermine the rule of law. As alleged, the case involves an effort by PRC intelligence officers to obstruct an ongoing criminal prosecution by making bribes to obtain files from this Office and sharing them with a global telecommunications company that is a charged defendant in an ongoing prosecution. We will always act decisively to counteract criminal acts that target our system of justice.”
Read the full statement from Attorney General Merrick Garland and the DOJ here.
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