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Huawei investigations have been targeted by Chinese spies and American colleges

The US has unearthed charges alleging that two Chinese intelligence officers attempted to obstruct a criminal investigation into Huawei.

The US has debunked charges alleging that two Chinese intelligence officers tried to obstruct a criminal investigation into Huawei Technologies, and alleging others were working on behalf of a “foreign power” to try to buy technology and recruit spies.

The charges were part of a series of recently unsealed cases the Justice Department announced Monday that officials said disrupted the PRC’s criminal activity.

“The government of China has sought to interfere with the rights and freedoms of individuals in the United States and to undermine our judicial system that protects those rights,” Attorney General Merrick Garland told reporters in Washington. “They didn’t succeed.”

According to FBI Director Chris Wray, ten of the 13 people charged are Chinese intelligence personnel.

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco added that the case involving alleged obstruction of a US investigation into a telecom company – which the Department of Justice has not identified – exposes the relationship between the Chinese government and its companies. It said the telecom giant had tried to “illegally gain advantage” to undermine the US investigation, and shows why Chinese companies should not be trusted to handle Americans’ personal data.

In a complaint published Monday, the US alleged that Guochun He and Zheng Wang worked on behalf of the Chinese government to target the US, from 2019 to the present, for the company. A person familiar with the matter confirmed that it is Huawei.

$61,000 in Bitcoin

The US alleges that she and Wang bribed a law enforcement officer to provide what they believed was classified information about witnesses, evidence and possible additional charges to be filed against the tech giant. He paid the employee $61,000 in bitcoin, according to the criminal complaint.

In a separate lawsuit, four people were charged in New Jersey federal court with conspiring to act as an unlawful agent of a foreign government. The plot allegedly involved Chinese intelligence officers posing as academics to recruit American law enforcement and others into seeking help in procuring fingerprint technology and equipment for the United States. They also allegedly pressured a former official to stop protests in the United States along the route of the 2008 Olympic torch, according to court filings.

In addition, the Department of Justice announced that seven people from China have been charged in an indictment unsealed in the Eastern District of New York last week with conspiring to harass a Chinese citizen living in the United States in hopes of causing the person to return. These actions were allegedly part of China’s effort, called “Operation Fox Hunt”, to force the repatriation of alleged fugitives living in other countries.

In the case related to the Huawei investigation, the complaint includes conversations between He, Wang, and a US government employee working as a double agent under the supervision of the FBI. They were using an encrypted messenger that was not recognized.

At a regular press conference on Tuesday in Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said that “the United States overextends the concept of national security to hinder Chinese enterprises and undermine the legitimate interests of Chinese citizens.”

financial difficulties

In a letter in January 2019, the employee told him he was “experiencing financial difficulties”.

He replied “Let me see if there’s something I can do for you,” according to the complaint.

Later, in February 2020, when the United States added new charges to the existing case against Huawei, he wrote: “As you know, yesterday, the US Department of Justice filed a new lawsuit aimed solely at [Huawei]Can you talk about this with your former college [colleague] Who works in the Ministry of Justice? He purportedly asked. “Evidence, next actions, contacts… anything on this is fine, thank you very much.”

The government alleges He and Wang first developed their relationship with the law enforcement officer, who has not been named, in February 2007, before the employee began working with the FBI.

A US judge on Thursday approved arrest warrants for He and Wang, two Chinese nationals, on charges of obstruction of official process and money laundering. Their current location is unknown.

US prosecutors indicted Huawei in 2019, alleging it stole trade secrets from T-Mobile USA Inc. It committed bank fraud by violating sanctions for doing business with Iran. The United States expanded the case the following year, adding racketeering conspiracy charges.

Mike Hong, a spokesperson for Huawei, did not immediately comment on the new charges related to the US investigation into the company.

Alleged efforts to interfere with the prosecution escalated in October 2021 when she and Wang told a law enforcement officer to give them details of prosecution strategy meetings with the US team in Brooklyn, the US alleged. The employee passed He a one-page fake document titled “SECRET” discussing a possible plan to charge two of the company’s current directors based in China. According to the complaint, he paid $41,000 per page.

As recently as last month, she and Wang allegedly gave an employee $14,000 worth of jewelry as well as $600 for sensitive information.

The case is United States v. Guochun He and Zheng Wang, 22-mj-1137, US District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).