The US Department of Justice (DoJ) announced two Chinese intelligence officers sought to influence a government prosecution of Huawei by offering bribes in return for access to official information about the case.

DoJ documentation on the matter did not name Huawei as being involved in the attempted bribery, with the company cited only by CNN.

The news site reported Chinese spies had developed a relationship with a US official in 2017.

This official was working as a double agent under the supervision of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The DoJ named the Chinese agents as Gouchun He and Zheng Wang. They allegedly asked the US official to obtain confidential information regarding witnesses, potential new charges and trial evidence against Huawei.

It claims the US official was paid $41,000 in Bitcoin to provide the information, but instead supplied a fake classified document related to the case against the Chinese vendor.

US attorney general Merrick Garland stated it was “an egregious attempt by People’s Republic of China intelligence officers to shield a PRC-based company from accountability and to undermine the integrity of our judicial system”.

Huawei has long denied US government claims its telecoms equipment could be used for espionage by China.