Chinese firm admits breaking Iran sanctions

Maxine SotoMar 08, 2017

A Chinese telecommunications company has agreed to pay $892 million for violating US sanctions on Iran, settling a case that resulted in increased tension between the USA and China.

It is the largest criminal penalty in U.S. history in an export control or sanctions case, government officials say.

If the company should violate sanctions again, or fail to appoint a corporate compliance monitor, it would be subject to another $300 million fine, suspended over a seven-year period.

He added: "This plea agreement holds them accountable, and makes clear that our government will use every tool we have to punish companies who would violate our laws, obstruct justice and jeopardise our national security".

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The ZTE has created strong partnerships with many USA suppliers that supported almost 130,000 high-tech jobs, and it anticipated continued growth and business expansion over the next several years with its innovative leadership in 5G area, said Zhao Xianming, chairman and CEO of ZTE, in the statement. The United States of America has been entrusted with the sale of US -manufactured products to Iran, either directly or through other companies, over a six-year period without appropriate licensing, according to USA officials.

Following the settlements, The Bureau of Industry and Security under the U.S. Commerce Department will recommend that the ZTE be removed from the Entity List, said the ZTE in its Tuesday statement.

Justice department officials said the company had illegally shipped sensitive US-made equipment to Iran.

"Those who flout our economic sanctions and export control laws will not go unpunished - they will suffer the harshest of consequences", he said.

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In order to improve its export control compliance, the ZTE has appointed new CEO and made major changes to the senior management team, according to the statement.

If you weren't particularly aware, the International Emergency Economic Powers Act now restricts the shipment of US-made technology to countries like Iran and North Korea. Should ZTE be trusted to work with USA materials at this point? It is one of the world's biggest telecommunications companies with subsidiaries in the U.S., Asia, Europe and South America. Of the $892 million total, $101 million will be paid to the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control, representing the office's largest settlement in history with a non-financial firm, according to Reuters. The action marks OFAC's largest-ever settlement with a nonfinancial entity.

U.S. media reported that ZTE was doing business with Iran in 2012.

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