Washington [US], March 24 (ANI): A Chinese government employee was convicted by a US Federal court on Wednesday for his involvement in fraudulently obtaining visas for his co-nationals and helping them in unlawfully working for Beijing offshore.
"Liu Zhongsan, a Chinese government employee, has been convicted for his involvement in a conspiracy to defraud the United States and illegally obtain US visas," the Department of Justice said in a press release.
The accused was operating an office of the China Association for the International Exchange of Personnel (CAIEP), an agency of the Chinese government that engages in talent recruitment, including recruiting U.S. scientists, academics, engineers and other experts to work for China.
"Liu Zhongsan sought to exploit the J-1 research scholar program - which is intended to allow foreign nationals to conduct research at approved US institutions - for the purpose of enabling his conspirators to work for the Chinese government in the US, against the rules of the research scholar program," US Attorney Damian Williams said in the statement.
The accused sought to exploit the research scholar scheme to allow recipients to work for the Chinese government and conceal illicit work from the US agencies, the statement added.
Liu has been convicted of one count of conspiracy to defraud the US and to commit visa fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
The development comes just days after US Federal prosecutors charged five agents with spying and harassing Chinese nationals living in the US who were critical of Beijing.
Earlier in February, a Canadian court had held that a Chinese government agency 'Overseas Chinese Affairs Office (OCAO)' was involved in espionage activities "that harm Canada's interests".
The court was hearing an application challenging the denial of citizenship to a Chinese couple who had worked for OCAO in China for 20 years. The court upheld the denial of citizenship, saying that it was reasonable "given the evidence available to the officer," reported National Post. (ANI)