The Department of Justice said on Monday that two intelligence officers working for the People’s Republic of China are suspected of trying to bribe a government official in the United States with bitcoin to get information about an investigation into a company that was not named.
Guochun He and Zheng Wang allegedly tried to gather information about an ongoing legal effort against the company, which appears to be Huawei Technologies, a multinational technology company with its headquarters located in Shenzhen, China. This is according to a press release and an unsealed deposition. The prosecution claims that the two individuals attempted to impede the investigation in a variety of ways, one of which was an effort to bribe a law enforcement officer in the United States with bitcoin worth $61,000.
The announcement was linked by the Attorney General of the United States, Merrick Garland, to two other actions taken by prosecutors in the states of New York and New Jersey. These prosecutors announced charges against a number of individuals working for the Chinese government on various allegations of surveillance and harassment.
In a deposition that was signed by an FBI Supervisory Special Agent named Thomas Ryder, the bitcoin-related aspect of the investigation is brought up multiple times, and Ryder is quoted as saying that he referred to it as a “safe” method of paying the law enforcement official, who is referred to as GE-1 in the document.
According to the statement, the defendants paid GE-1 in two separate instalments, the first of which was for the sum of $20,000, and the second of which was for the sum of $41,000. According to the lawsuit, one of the transactions was for a secret document that was meant to bolster Huawei’s case, but the U.S. official did not really transfer any confidential information to Huawei
U.S. officials stated on Monday that the action was part of a larger picture of the Chinese government and its purported effort to undermine international laws and the rights of individuals. Despite the fact that the amount used was not a large amount, U.S. officials said the action was part of the larger picture.
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