Two Chinese officials were accused of paying bribes in Bitcoin BTC/USD to a U.S. government employee in order to steal documents from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.
Court documents stated Guochun He and Zheng Wang allegedly orchestrated the scheme. The officials used coin mixing wallet from Wasabi to try to cover their tracks, according to analytics firm Elliptic.
A related file undergoing federal criminal investigation and prosecution was believed to be of Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies.
$60,000 Bribe Paid To Steal Documents
The U.S. Attorney’s Office alleged a bribe of around $61,000 in Bitcoin was paid to a U.S. government employee who the spies believed had been recruited to work for the Chinese government, but who in fact was a double agent working on behalf of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
“… blockchain analytics reveals that China’s spies are using Wasabi Wallet to conceal their transaction trail. All of the bribe payments can be traced back to Wasabi,” Elliptic stated.
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Wasabi Wallet is a privacy wallet that combines Bitcoin from several sources while hiding its origins.
Elliptic had previously demonstrated how Bitcoin was obtained via well-known breaches of Twitter and cryptocurrency exchanges Bitfinex and KuCoin, among others.
Cryptoassets Have Long Been Used As A Payment Method By Intelligence Services
The characteristics of digital assets that draw criminals to them, such as their resilience to censorship, pseudonymity and ease of cross-border movement, also make them useful instruments for any intelligence services seeking to finance covert operations.
For instance, it was claimed that the Swiss Federal Intelligence Service (FIS) investigated the use of Bitcoin to pay foreign intelligence sources in 2014.
The GRU, a military intelligence service of Russia, was suspected of using Bitcoin to buy equipment for hacking into the email accounts of Hillary Clinton's campaign volunteers and workers as well as the computer networks of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democratic National Committee.
This was done in an effort to steal information that would be utilized to try to sway the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
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