ZTE, one of China’s technology companies, the second-largest maker of telecom equipment from the country, agreed to plead guilty and pay $1.19 billion in fine as part of a settlement for breaking sanctions and selling electronics to Iran and North Korea. The penalty is the largest criminal fine in a United States sanctions case.
On Tuesday, the Commerce Department said that along with selling prohibited American electronics to build Iran’s telecom networks, ZTE also made 283 shipments of microprocessors, servers and routers to North Korea, violating American embargoes in that country as wellIn addition to ZTE, the Commerce Department is also investigating the company’s larger Chinese rival, Huawei, for violating United States sanctions. “We are putting the world on notice: The games are over,” said Commerce Secretary Wilbur L. Ross. “Those who flout our economic sanctions and export control laws will not go unpunished — they will suffer the harshest of consequences.” ZTE breached United States sanctions against Iran by selling American-made goods to the country. “ZTE acknowledges the mistakes it made, takes responsibility for them and remains committed to positive change in the company,” said Zhao Xianming, chairman and chief executive of ZTE.