Two Chinese intelligence agents paid $61,000 to an American to obtain files and inside information related to a lawsuit against a China-based company. The bribe, paid in Bitcoin, has led to legal action against the two Chinese, who are at risk, but are at large. Zoom in on this unprecedented incident that could cool relations between China and the US a little more.
A $61,000 bribe in Bitcoin
The Department of Justice in a New York district announced the indictment of two Chinese citizens in Brooklyn federal court. Guochun He and Zheng Wang, Chinese intelligence agents, are accused of obstruction of justice in a case dating back to 2019.
Indeed, the two defendants had bribed a U.S. agent in order to obtain documents and information related to the lawsuit against Company-1, a China-based telecom company. The two Chinese thought they had found a mole within the US administration. In reality, they had found a double agent working for the FBI. This one set up a real strategy to gather evidence against the two Chinese.
In October 2021, the American agent sent the two Chinese a fake secret strategy document from the US Attorney’s Office regarding the Company-1 case.
Chinese agent Guochun He took the bait. He replied that the document was exactly what he expected. He then paid about $41,000 in Bitcoin in return. At the end of September 2022, Guochun He granted an additional payment of $20,000 in Bitcoin to the American agent. This, he claimed, was a reward for the information provided by the agent.
Protests from Washington
The American authorities have strongly condemned the act of the two Chinese agents. For Christopher Wray, director of the FBI, the actions of two Chinese constitute an interference of a foreign government in the administration of justice, the foundation of American society. For him, it is a threat against the American people and this must not go unpunished.
By attempting to steal documents from the Eastern District of New York, intelligence agents from the People’s Republic of China have threatened not only the procedures of our criminal justice system, but the very idea of justice. A threat to justice is a threat to the foundations of our free society, and the FBI remains constantly vigilant to protect the United States from such threats.Christopher Wray, director of the FBI,
China for its part has not yet officially reacted to this case.
The two Chinese are currently free and presumed innocent. Nevertheless, they are facing great risks. If found guilty, Guochun He faces up to 60 years in prison. Zheng Wang could be sentenced to 20 years in prison. Wait and see, next time they will learn from their mistakes and launder the money under the cover of a hack.
I dream of a world where every citizen has total control over themselves, including their finances. I believe that Bitcoin is one of the tools that will achieve this revolution. Since 2019, I am learning about this cryptocurrency and spreading the word around.