© Stocksak. Chinese Intelligence: U.S. Official Allegedly Bribed With Bitcoin
- Two Chinese intelligence officers were charged with bribing an American official with $61,000 to get Huawei investigation documents.
- Guochun He and Zheng Wang were identified by the Department of Justice (DoJ). He had offered to pay the government official, referred to as “GE-1”, in Bitcoin.
- Multiple charges have been filed against defendants. They could face 60 and 20 year sentences, respectively, if convicted.
- Elliptic, a prominent crypto intelligence outfit, also revealed the suspects used a Wasabi Wallet Mixer to conceal their transactions.
Allegations have emerged from the United States Department of Justice (DoJ) that two Chinese intelligence officers ellegedly attempted to bribe U.S. government staff with $61,000 Bitcoin, in an attempt to illegally obtain documents relating to an investigation on Huawei from the Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.
The documents referred to the name of the firm as “Company-1”. Associated Press has identified Huawei as the source.
Guochun Wang was identified by the DoJ as the suspects. The filing states that the suspect, He, had offered to pay a sum of Bitcoin to the government official, referred to in the document as “GE-1”, for the information.
As revealed in the deposition, the defendat paid “GE-1” in two installments, one worth $20,000 USD, and the another worth $41,000 USD. Further clarification was provided in the filing that the U.S. official had not disclosed any classified information to agents.
Charges against the Suspects
Confirming the arrest of the Chinese intelligence officers, U.S Attorney General Merrick Garland made clear the U.S. Government’s position on the issue.
“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.
The DoJ accuses the Chinese Officers of obstruction of Justice. They claim that they attempted to bribe a member of the government staff who is also an agent of Federal Bureau of Investigation. Guochun Wang and Zheng Wang were also charged with conspiracy to forcefully repatriate Chinese residents, attempts to halt criminal investigations, and conspiracy as illicit agents for a foreign country.
United States law enforcement is currently holding the two intelligence officers. He and Wang may spend 60 to 20 years in prison for a conviction under U.S. law.
Crypto Mixer Tools: More Stringent Measures
Elliptic, a well-known blockchain intelligence company, disclosed that the suspects used a Wasabi Wallet Mixer to cover the traces they left behind.
Elliptic revealed that its blockchain analytics tools had helped to identify both the Mixer tool’s usage and the source transaction. The U.S government will likely tighten its controls on the involvement of another crypto mixer tool in illicit acts other than the recently sanctioned Tornado cash.
In August, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) placed a ban on Tornado Cash due to the mixer’s use by hackers targeting operations in the region. A similar move against Wasabi could be possible in light of this latest revelation.
On the Flipside
- Although recent incidents have highlighted risks associated with the use of crypto-mixers as money laundering tools they have also been invaluable in their use to help unbanked people and facilitate donations to worthy causes.
Why You Should Care
The use of digital assets for illicit purposes has increased, which could lead to stricter regulations regarding cryptocurrencies by governments around the world.
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