Two Chinese nationals charged with Huawei probe interference

Oct. 25, 2022
The U.S. Department of Justice has unsealed a criminal complaint in a federal court that charges Guochun He and Zheng Wang with obstructing the ongoing investigation into Huawei’s business practices by attempting to steal files and other information.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) has unsealed a criminal complaint in a federal court in Brooklyn, NY, that charges Chinese nationals Guochun He and Zheng Wang with obstructing the ongoing investigation into Huawei’s business practices by attempting to steal files and other information pertaining to the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York. Both defendants remain at large. Guochun He also faces money laundering charges for allegedly bribing a U.S. government employee, who was a double agent working under direction of the FBI, as part of the plot.

The complaint references “the ongoing federal criminal investigation and prosecution of a global telecommunications company (Company-1) based in the PRC [Peoples Republic of China].” Dates mentioned in the complaint and the fact that the investigation into Huawei’s alleged infringement of bans on the export of U.S. technology to Iran and associated bank fraud is being run out of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York point to Company-1 as Huawei. Huawei has repeatedly denied the charges.

Allegations

The complaint alleges that He and Wang in January 2019 directed an employee of a U.S. government law enforcement agency, who is referred to in the court documents as “GE-1,” to steal confidential information about the prosecution of Huawei to interfere with that prosecution. The defendants believed GE-1 to be an asset the PRC had turned but was in fact a double agent for the FBI, the complaint states. Further, in September 2021, the defendants assigned GE-1 to report about meetings that GE-1 was purportedly having with prosecutors in Brooklyn at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the complaint charges. The defendants, in writing, allegedly asked to know which Huawei employees were being interviewed and to obtain a description of the prosecutors’ evidence, witness list, and trial strategy.

The following month, GE-1 sent the defendants a document, which appeared to be classified as “SECRET,” via an encrypted messaging platform. The single-page document was purported to be part of an internal strategy memorandum from the U.S. Attorney’s Office that described plans to arrest a pair of Huawei employees living in the PRC in connection with the case. Guochun He allegedly said the document was “exactly what I’m looking for” and that he was waiting for feedback from “some guys.” GE-1 subsequently received approximately $41,000 in Bitcoin from He for delivering the document, according to the DoJ.

GE-1 then followed up later in November and in December on the feedback from He’s associates. He did not provide such feedback, although he allegedly indicated that Company-1 would be very interested in more information along the lines GE-1 had delivered.

Guochun He is also charged with money laundering in connection with an additional transfer of approximately $20,000 in Bitcoin to GE-1 related to the alleged scheme.

If He and Wang have left the U.S. and returned to China it is unlikely this complaint will lead to a trial, as China and the U.S. do not have an extradition agreement.

Points of view

“Today’s complaint underscores the unrelenting efforts of the PRC government to undermine the rule of law,” said U.S. Attorney Breon Peace for the Eastern District of New York. “As alleged, the case involves an effort by PRC intelligence officers to obstruct an ongoing criminal prosecution by making bribes to obtain files from this office and sharing them with a global telecommunications company that is a charged defendant in an ongoing prosecution. We will always act decisively to counteract criminal acts that target our system of justice.”

Asked today about the unsealed complaint in his daily press briefing, PRC Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said, “I am not aware of what you mentioned. China is always opposed to the US moves to overstretch the concept of national security and abuse state power to wantonly hobble Chinese enterprises.” Huawei has not publicly commented on the complaint.

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About the Author

Stephen Hardy | Editorial Director and Associate Publisher, Lightwave

Stephen Hardy is editorial director and associate publisher of Lightwave and Broadband Technology Report, part of the Lighting & Technology Group at Endeavor Business Media. Stephen is responsible for establishing and executing editorial strategy across the both brands’ websites, email newsletters, events, and other information products. He has covered the fiber-optics space for more than 20 years, and communications and technology for more than 35 years. During his tenure, Lightwave has received awards from Folio: and the American Society of Business Press Editors (ASBPE) for editorial excellence. Prior to joining Lightwave in 1997, Stephen worked for Telecommunications magazine and the Journal of Electronic Defense.

Stephen has moderated panels at numerous events, including the Optica Executive Forum, ECOC, and SCTE Cable-Tec Expo. He also is program director for the Lightwave Innovation Reviews and the Diamond Technology Reviews.

He has written numerous articles in all aspects of optical communications and fiber-optic networks, including fiber to the home (FTTH), PON, optical components, DWDM, fiber cables, packet optical transport, optical transceivers, lasers, fiber optic testing, and more.

You can connect with Stephen on LinkedIn as well as Twitter.

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