2 Chinese agents tried to bribe an undercover FBI agent with $61,000 in Bitcoin in an attempt to steal classified information: DOJ

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U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland (L) and F.B.I. Director Christopher Wray hold a press conference at the U.S. Department of Justice on on October 24, 2022 in Washington, DC. The Justice Department announced it has charged 13 individuals, including members of the Chinese intelligence and their agents, for alleged efforts to unlawfully exert influence in the United States for the benefit of the government of China.
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland (L) and FBI Director Christopher Wray hold a press conference at the U.S. Department of Justice on October 24, 2022.

  • Federal prosecutors say two Chinese agents tried to bribe a government worker to steal information.
  • The duo wanted to obtain secrets about an investigation into a Chinese telecommunications firm.
  • The person they tried to bribe was an undercover FBI agent.

Two Chinese intelligence agents tried to bribe an undercover US government employee into selling them classified information, the Department of Justice alleged on Monday.

He Guochun and Wang Zheng offered an unnamed government employee $61,000 in Bitcoin for secret information regarding the prosecution of a big Chinese telecommunications firm, prosecutors said. The two believed they had successfully recruited the employee to work for the Chinese government, the DOJ added.

However, the employee the two liaised with was an undercover FBI agent, said federal prosecutors, per a complaint filed with the Eastern District of New York.

The complaint alleges that the duo tried to obtain the DOJ’s strategy memo, confidential information on witnesses, and trial evidence. The complaint also alleges that the two tried to find out if potential new charges would be leveled against the telecommunications company.

While the company in question was not named, the consensus among Western media outlets is that the case details bear similarity to the US probe of Chinese electronics giant Huawei.

Federal prosecutors are investigating the firm over allegations that it stole trade secrets from US tech companies. It is also probing whether Huawei misled banks about its business operations in US-sanctioned Iran.

Huawei has pleaded not guilty to these charges. Representatives for Huawei did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Wang and He are both charged with attempting to obstruct a federal prosecution. He is also charged with two counts of money laundering because of the $61,000 bribe, the complaint said. Both men are still at large, the DOJ said.

Prosecutors said the duo paid the FBI’s double agent around $14,600 in jewelry, wire transfers, and cash since September 2017. These payments were for separate matters unrelated to the case of the telecommunications firm, the complaint alleged.

On Monday, US Attorney General Merrick Garland also publicized information about another case involving defendants accused of working as Chinese agents in the US. This second case involves seven Chinese nationals accused of harassing and threatening a US resident, in an attempt to coerce this person into returning to China.

“The Justice Department will not tolerate attempts by any foreign power to undermine the rule of law upon which our democracy is based,” said Garland.

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