China Telecom Giant ZTE Pleads Guilty, To Pay $1.2 Billion Penalty For Selling US Tech To Iran

zerohedge.com / by Tyler Durden / Mar 7, 2017 11:12 AM

In Wilbur Ross’ first public announcement, the former hedge fund manger and current Trump commerce secretary announced that China’s telecommunications giant ZTE has agreed to pay a total of $1.2 billion in penalties and plead guilty to violating U.S. sanctions on Iran, selling US technology to Tehran, and obstructing a federal investigation, ending a five-year probe that has raised trade tensions between the U.S. and China. The penalty was among the largest ever in a sanctions case.

ZTE was accused that over a six-year-long period, it planned to obtain technology products from the U.S., incorporate them into ZTE equipment and ultimately ship the equipment to Iran. The company agree to settle because as the WSJ adds, it avoided a more-devastating supply cutoff of U.S. components, which the Commerce Department slapped on ZTE in March 2016 and immediately suspended as a settlement was negotiated. Without key components such as Qualcomm processors for its smartphones, ZTE’s ability to produce some of its major products could have been crippled in a matter of months, putting it at the risk of bankruptcy.

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