ZTE has agreed to plead guilty and pay around $900 million to the United States to settle allegations that it violated American laws on selling U.S. technology to Iran. The settlement of $892 million and guilty plea relates to a period between 2010 and 2016 when ZTE shipped over $30 million in U.S.-based products to Iran, as well as took part in over 280 shipments of controlled items to North Korea.
The company admitted to shipping products containing U.S.-made equipment to Iran, either directly or through other companies, over a six-year period without proper licensing, according to U.S. officials. They say ZTE knowingly shipped about $32 million worth of U.S. goods to Iran and misled U.S. authorities about its compliance with American laws.
ZTE reached the agreement with the U.S. Justice, Commerce and Treasury departments. The company will plead guilty to three charges — conspiracy to unlawfully export, obstruction of justice and making false statements to federal investigators, according to a plea agreement released by the Justice Department.
“ZTE acknowledges the mistakes it made, takes responsibility for them, and remains committed to positive change in the company,” said Dr. Zhao Xianming, Chairman and CEO of ZTE Corporation.
“Instituting new compliance-focused procedures and making significant personnel changes has been a top priority for the company. We have learned many lessons from this experience and will continue on our path of becoming a model for export compliance and management excellence. We are committed to a new ZTE, compliant, healthy and trustworthy.”
Commerce will recommend that ZTE be removed from the list of blocked companies if it complies with its deal and a court approves its agreement with the Justice Department.
Dr. Zhao continued,
“The agreements we reached will enable us to move forward in a stronger position than ever before,”
“We are grateful to all of our customers, partners, employees and stakeholders who have stood by us throughout this difficult time. With this agreement behind us and our compliance program firmly established, we can confidently grow our business with suppliers, continue to provide innovative technology solutions to our partners, and execute our growth strategies as a new ZTE.”