China's ZTE Pleads Guilty, Settles with US over Iran Sales
Chinese telecommunications equipment maker ZTE Corp has agreed to plead guilty and pay $892 million to settle with US authorities over allegations it violated US laws restricting the sale of American-made technology to Iran, the company said on Tuesday.
ZTE will plead guilty to conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, among other charges, in the agreement with the US Department of Commerce, Department of Treasury and Department of Justice.
The agencies all declined comment on Tuesday.
The Commerce Department investigation followed reports by Reuters in 2012 that ZTE had signed contracts to ship millions of dollars worth of hardware and software from some of the best-known US technology companies to Iran's largest telecoms carrier.
An agreement caps a year of uncertainty for the Shenzhen-based company, which in March 2016 was placed on a list of entities that US suppliers could not work with without a license. ZTE acted contrary to US national security or foreign policy interests, the Commerce Department said at the time.
Commerce will recommend that ZTE be removed from that list if the company lives up to its deal and a court approves its agreement with the Justice Department.
ZTE said it has agreed to an additional penalty of $300 million to a division of the Commerce Department that will be suspended during a seven-year term on the condition that the company complies with requirements in the agreement.
The Treasury Department said the settlement includes $101 million to settle potential civil liability for Iran sanction violations. The action marks the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control's largest settlement to date with a non-financial entity, Reuters reported.