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China’s ZTE Denies Knowledge of Reports of U.S. Bribery Investigation

By Ding Yi / Mar 16, 2020 05:14 PM / World

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Chinese telecom equipment maker ZTE has denied knowledge of a reported bribery investigation into the company by the U.S. government.

On Friday, NBC News reported that the U.S. Department of Justice is investigating ZTE over possible bribes paid to foreign officials in order to gain advantages in its global operations, citing two sources familiar with the matter. The Wall Street Journal also reported the claims.

In a Monday statement published on the website of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, ZTE said that it “has not received notices from the relevant government departments of the United States in this regard.” The company will continue to prioritize making itself a trusted and reliable business partner in the global markets, the statement added.

ZTE’s statement comes just three days after U.S. President Donald Trump signed into law a bill that bars small state-backed telcos from using government subsidies to purchase networking equipment from ZTE and its Chinese peer Huawei, which the legislation deems a national security threat.

In 2017, ZTE, which relies heavily on American-made core parts for its smartphones and networking gear, pleaded guilty and paid nearly $900 million in fines after a U.S. investigation found that the Chinese company had violated a U.S. trade embargo on the sale of U.S. technology-powered products to Iran.

The U.S. later found the company had violated that initial agreement, and in 2018 fined ZTE another $1 billion and made it pay an additional $400 million into an escrow account against potential future violations.

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com)

Related: Trump Signs Law Barring Small State-Supported Telcos from Buying Huawei Equipment


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