Chinese Intelligence Allegedly Tried to Bribe US Official with Bitcoin

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by John K. Kumi · 2 min read
Chinese Intelligence Allegedly Tried to Bribe US Official with Bitcoin
Photo: Depositphotos

Guochun He faces up to 60 years while Zheng Wang faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted. 

A statement from the US Justice Department accuses two Chinese intelligence officers of attempting to bribe a US government employee with $61,000 worth of Bitcoin to get access to documents related to an investigation into a Chinese tech company that appears to be Huawei Technologies. In a press conference to announce the arrest of the two operatives, US Attorney General Merrick Garland said that the Department would not tolerate any attempt by a foreign power to undermine the rule of law.

According to the DoJ, the case goes back to 2019 when a US government official who was a double agent working for the Federal Bureau of Investigation was approached by two intelligence officers identified as Guochun He and Zheng Wang. By then, there was an ongoing federal investigation and prosecution of a global telecommunication company based in China, identified in the filing as company-1.

The intelligence, therefore, wanted access to the document related to the case. DoJ further disclosed that in September 2022, Guochun asked the government employee for additional information on what had already been provided for additional Bitcoin payment. In October, a Bitcoin payment of $20,000 was made to the government employee. It is reported that $41,000 Bitcoin had earlier been made by the agents. One of the transactions was for a classified document that was supposed to help Huawei’s case. However, the filing mentions that the official did not share any classified documents.

Chief Scientist & Co-Founder at blockchain intelligence firm Elliptic, Tom Robinson, revealed to reporters that after analyzing the Bitcoin transaction involved in the case, the Chinese agents attempted to hide the transaction by using the Wasabi Wallet mixing service. Using wallets of trading platforms like Coinbase could easily leave transaction participants exposed to investigators.

“There was enough information in the criminal complaint to uniquely identify the bitcoin transactions. We then used our blockchain analytics tools to trace the source of the payments and identify the use of Wasabi,” he said.

Guochun He faces up to 60 years while Zheng Wang faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

“The same properties of digital assets that make them attractive to criminals – such as censorship resistance, pseudonymity, and the ease with which they can be transferred across borders – also make them valuable tools for all intelligence agencies looking to fund clandestine operations,” wrote Elliptic.

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John K. Kumi
Author John K. Kumi

Excellent John K. Kumi is a cryptocurrency and fintech enthusiast, operations manager of a fintech platform, writer, researcher, and a huge fan of creative writing. With an Economics background, he finds much interest in the invisible factors that causes price change in anything measured with valuation. He has been in the crypto/blockchain space in the last five (5) years. He mostly watches football highlights and movies in his free time.

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