ZTE Handed Record Fine of $1.2 Billion for Breaking Sanctions
ZTE, which is the second largest Chinese maker of telecom equipment was handed a record fine by the United States government.
ZTE pled guilty to violating sanctions imposed by the U.S. against both North Korea and Iran and must now pay a fine of $1.2 billion, which is the largest criminal fine to date related to a sanctions case involving the U.S.
The U.S. Commerce Department said that between 2010 and 2016 ZTE conspired to evade the embargo the U.S. placed against Iran. The firm from China sold hardware as well as software made in the U.S. to Iran to supply its infrastructure in telecommunications.
ZTE was also charged for making 282 shipments that included routers, servers and other equipment to the country of North Korea, which is under trade embargos by the U.S. as well.
U.S. government officials said that officials from ZTE repeatedly misled and lied to federal investigators during the course of their investigation of five years.
A break in the case came when a laptop was seized by the U.S. that belonged to a lawyer for ZTE and contained a host of documents outlining the illegal sales of the company.
In a prepared statement, Wilbur Ross the Secretary of Commerce said they were putting the rest of the world on notice that the games are now over. He added that those flouting our sanctions and control laws for export will be punished and will suffer harsh consequences.
ZTE will have to pay $89 million in fines immediately and will have to pay another $300 million in penalties, dependent upon how it complies with terms of the agreement reached.
In a prepared statement, ZTE CEO and chairman Zhao Xianming said that ZTE acknowledged its mistakes, takes responsibility and remained committed to change in a positive way within the company.
ZTE said it changed leadership since it violated the embargos, which included appointing Xianming in April of 2016.
The case for the U.S. government against ZTE is closed, but the Commerce Department continues to pursue an investigation that is similar against Huawei a rival in China of ZTE. Huawei is the largest telecommunications company in the world.
The U.S. sent a subpoena to Huawei that demanded it turn documents over that covered the export of American tech to countries that included Iran, Sudan, North Korea, Cuba and Syria.