Justice Department alleges Chinese spies tried to disrupt a criminal investigation into Huawei

Two agents allegedly tried to bribe a US law enforcement official.

Benoit Tessier / reuters

Two spies from the People's Republic of China attempted to interfere in a criminal investigation by the US Department of Justice into a prominent Chinese telecommunications company, US Attorney General Merrick Garland announced on Monday. The two agents, Guochun He and Zheng Wang, were working for the benefit of Huawei, reports Bloomberg.

According to a complaint seen by the outlet, He and Wang attempted to bribe a law enforcement official to provide them with information on the Justice Department's investigation. The two began cultivating a relationship with the employee, who is not named in the lawsuit, in 2017. They allegedly sought to obtain details about witnesses, evidence and possible additional charges that could be filed against Huawei. He and Wang kept paying the employee for more information not knowing that they were working with an FBI double agent. The two are accused of obstructing the Justice Department's prosecution against Huawei. It's unclear if they have been arrested.

"This was an egregious attempt by PRC intelligence officers to shield a PRC-based company from accountability, and to undermine the integrity of our judicial system," said Garland. "The Justice Department will not tolerate attempts by any foreign power to undermine the rule of law upon which our democracy is based. We will continue to fiercely, protect the rights guaranteed to everyone in our country."

On Monday, Garland also announced charges against Chinese nationals in two other cases. In the first, the attorney general said four individuals — three of whom were Chinese intelligence agents, according to the Justice Department — attempted to steal technology from the US. The other case involves an incident where Chinese operatives carried out a multi-year campaign to force a US resident to return to China.

"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. They did not succeed," Garland said. "Each of these cases lays bare the Chinese government's flagrant violation of international laws as they work to project their authoritarian view around the world, including within our own borders."