According to The Verge, two Chinese intelligence officers are accused of obstructing the US investigation into Huawei. The Justice Department announced the charges on Monday, saying two were arrested and 13 charged in three separate cases.
Huawei has been under the US radar since a few years ago when it was revealed that the company has suspicious ties with the Chinese government for espionage purposes. The FCC recently imposed a new ban on Huawei and ZTE to prevent them from entering the US market. The Justice Department says two Chinese agents tried to disrupt the investigation against Huawei by gaining access to confidential information and trial evidence. This will give the FCC a good chance to slap Huawei one more time.
Of course, the Justice Department has not clearly named the disputed company, but CNN and The Wall Street Journal say that Huawei is the same company that Chinese agents tried to obstruct its investigations.
“This case exposes the interconnection between PRC intelligence officers & Chinese companies, and it demonstrates, once again, why such companies — especially in the telecommunications industry — should not be trusted to securely handle our sensitive personal data and communications,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said.
Chinese agents offered bribes to a US law enforcement employee
As per the findings, the agents worked on behalf of the Chinese government and offered bribes to a law enforcement employee to obtain access to confidential information. However, that employee was operating as a “double agent on behalf of the FBI,” the Justice Department noted.
Additionally, the DOJ says that the double agent has sent a false classified document to the Chinese agents and received $41,000 in Bitcoin. The agents also paid bribes through cash and jewelry.
Huawei is one of many China-based tech companies that are accused of collaborating with the Chinese government. The video-sharing app TikTok was already charged with sending US data abroad and allowing China-based employees to access US users’ data. The US administration also sanctions ZTE and some other less-known Chinese companies.