ZTE Agrees to Pay Massive Fine to Settle Export Violations
ZTE today said it has agreed to pay the U.S. government significant financial penalties for exporting technology to Iran in violation of sanctions against the country. Specifically, ZTE will pay a criminal and civil penalty of $892 million to the Office of Foreign Assets Control. The company will also be responsible for another $300 million if it fails to comply with terms of the agreement over a seven-year period. ZTE said it will work with an independent compliance monitor and auditor to ensure it meets the required action items to prevent potential problems. ZTE has taken a number of steps already to appease the U.S. Department of Commerce. It has replaced its CEO, created a new compliance committee, restructured its legal and compliance departments, expanded its internal documentation, named a U.S. lawyer as Chief Export Compliance Officer, and trained some 45,000 employees on export controls and sanctions laws. The Commerce Department first alleged in March 2016 that ZTE had violated trade sanctions in place against Iran by using shell companies to hide its exporting activities. The government initially banned ZTE from exporting any U.S. goods, parts, or components, but offered a reprieve while ZTE worked with the government to resolve the issue. Today's agreement puts the issue at rest. "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. "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."
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