Bitcoin Bribery: Chinese spies offered rewards in bitcoin (BTC) to gain access to an investigation by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ). The DOJ is digging around Huawei Technologies, a Chinese multinational corporation based in Shenzhen, China.
Guochun He and Zheng Wang have been charged by the DOJ of attempting to force a US government official to hand over documents. The papers pertained to the investigation of the Chinese technology and telecommunications giant. Later, wall street journal Confirmed that the matter is related to Huawei.
Both detectives reportedly contacted an FBI agent in 2019, offering a reward of more than $60,000 for the documents requested. For the avoidance of doubt, payment will be made in bitcoin.
Now, Chinese spies will face charges of attempting to obstruct a criminal process and conspiring to act as an illegal agent for a foreign country.
Bitcoin Bribery: Using Crypto As Reward
The DoJ claims that in September 2022, spies offered new payments in BTC to send additional information about the case. On-chain data shows that agents paid $20,000 in cryptocurrency the following month.
An analysis by Elliptic, a company specializing in blockchain, shows that the Chinese used Wasabi wallet mixing service to hide their activities.
The case may further increase the US government’s repression of these mixing services. In August, the country’s Treasury Department approved Tornado Cash. The claim was that the platform was being used by various criminal and terrorist groups to launder money and hide traces in the crypto world.
China vs United States
The recent condemnation of Chinese spies could further escalate tensions between the two superpowers. Commenting on the case, US Attorney General Merrick Garland said, “Efforts by any foreign power to undermine the rule of law on which our democracy is based will not be tolerated.”
Prosecutor Brian Peace said Chinese government intelligence officials wanted to obstruct an ongoing criminal case against one of China’s biggest companies. Huawei allegedly transmitted information to China through cell towers installed in the US. The biggest concern of the US government is that the company has sent confidential data about its military bases.
The two countries have gathered friction and disagreement in recent years, including in Taiwan, among many other aspects.
Many fear that a worsening of these issues could trigger a more harmful conflict than the Russian-Ukrainian one. This will certainly shake the cryptocurrency market and the global economy as a whole.
In relation to the Huawei case, Guochun He and Wang could face up to 60 years and 20 years in prison, respectively.
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