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US charges alleged Chinese spies in Huawei case

October 24, 2022

Prosecutors allege that Chinese spies were foiled by a double agent. The US Justice Department says China is trying to undermine the judicial system.

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The defendants allegedly tried to extract information about a criminal case involving HuaweiImage: Artur Widak/NurPhoto/picture alliance

US prosecutors charged two alleged Chinese spies with interference in a criminal investigation against Chinese telecom giant Huawei, court documents showed on Monday.

The men were accused of attempting to extract confidential information about witnesses, trial evidence and possible new charges in the Huawei case.

Prosecutors allege one of them paid about $61,000 (€62,000) in cash, bitcoin and jewelery to a person they believed was a cooperator, but was actually working as a double agent for the United States. 

The unnamed recruit, who is referred to only as "GE-1," was working under FBI supervision, the complaint said. They allegedly supplied the defendants with what appeared to be classified information about plans to arrest two of the company's China-based executives and legal strategies.

Huawei was charged in February 2020 with violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act after allegedly misleading HSBC and other banks about its business in Iran.

Court documents alleged that spies had said the information was being passed to Huawei, and that it was aware of the spying operation.

It is unclear if the pair will be taken into custody, although there are arrest warrants out for them. 

One of three cases

The case was one of three unveiled on Monday relating to alleged Chinese interference in the US justice system.

The other cases related to a New Jersey intelligence campaign and an effort to harass a Chinese national into returning to China.

The cases showed that "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," US Attorney General Merrick Garland said at a press conference.

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

At the conference — which featured heads of both the FBI and the Justice Department — he announced indictments 13 Chinese nationals who allegedly worked for Chinese intelligence. 

The briefing appeared to be a show of force against Chinese intelligence efforts.

aw/rt (AP, AFP, Reuters)

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