WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Monday, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced charges against two individuals who he says tried to interfere with a DOJ investigation.
“The defendants directed an employee at a U.S. government law enforcement agency to steal confidential information about the United States criminal prosecution of the company,” Garland said.
That company is the Chinese telecommunications company Huawei. Garland says the Chinese intelligence officers wanted the U.S. employee to obtain confidential information like witnesses and evidence.
“But in fact, the individual they recruited was actually a double agent, working on behalf of the FBI,” Garland said.
FBI Director Christopher Wray points out that this isn’t the first time China has done something to help one of its own companies.
“I’ve been repeatedly sounding the alarm about the Chinese government’s disregard for fair business practices for international norms and for the rule of law,” Wray said.
The DOJ says the two intelligence officers gave more than $60,000 in bitcoin to the double agent for what they believed was insider information.
“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,” Garland said.
For now, the two intelligence officers remain at large and arrest warrants have been issued. This case is one of three that the DOJ has brought forward against 13 people associated with the Chinese government.
In the second case, the DOJ has charged seven individuals who allegedly forced someone to return to China through scare tactics and harassment. In the third case, the DOJ alleges four Chinese nationals attempted to target and recruit individuals to act on China’s behalf through a fake think tank.
“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,” Garland said.