The US Justice Department has charged two Chinese intelligence officers, accusing them of attempting to obstruct an investigation into the telecommunications conglomerate Huawei.
Although law enforcement officials did not publicly name the company in the statement late on Monday, both CNN and The Wall Street Journal reported that the case concerns Huawei.
Overall, two Chinese nationals were arrested and 13 were charged in three separate cases for alleged participation in malign schemes in the US on behalf of the government of China.
Defendants Guochum He and Zheng Wang were accused of working on behalf of the Chinese government to obtain confidential information and trial evidence related to a Justice Department investigation into Huawei.
“As these cases demonstrate, the government of China sought to interfere with the rights and freedoms of individuals in the US and to undermine our judicial system that protects those rights. They did not succeed,” said US Attorney General Merrick B. Garland.
In the complaint, the US claimed that Guochum and Zheng attempted to recruit a law enforcement employee to work on behalf of the Chinese government and obtain information related to the US’s ongoing investigation against Huawei in Brooklyn.
“The actions announced today take place against a backdrop of malign activity from the government of the People’s Republic of China that includes espionage, attempts to disrupt our justice system, harassment of individuals, and ongoing efforts to steal sensitive US technology,” added Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco.
The US has maintained that Huawei poses a significant risk to national security.
Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou entered a plea deal last year with the US to avoid potential charges of fraud and trade secret theft.
According to Axios, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) plans to ban all sales of new Huawei and ZTE telecommunications devices in the US.