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China's ZTE agrees to pay record fine for illegal exports to Iran, N. Korea

2017/03/08 04:32

WASHINGTON, March 7 (Yonhap) -- A Chinese company has agreed to pay US$1.2 billion in fines for illegally exporting telecommunications equipment to Iran and North Korea in violation of export regulations and sanctions, officials said Tuesday.

If a federal judge accepts the plea, the penalty for Zhongxing Telecommunications Equipment Corporation or ZTE would be the largest fine and forfeiture ever levied by the U.S. government in an export control case, the U.S. Department of Commerce said in a statement.

"We are putting the world on notice: the games are over," Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in the statement. "Those who flout our economic sanctions and export control laws will not go unpunished -– they will suffer the harshest of consequences. Under President Trump's leadership, we will be aggressively enforcing strong trade policies with the dual purpose of protecting American national security and protecting American workers."

   From 2010 to 2016, ZTE shipped $32 million in U.S. cellular network equipment to Iran, and made 283 shipments of cell phones to North Korea, with the full knowledge of the highest levels of company management, officials said during a background briefing.