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U.S. bars exports to Chinese telecom firm linked to N. Korea

2018/04/17 00:47

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WASHINGTON, April 16 (Yonhap) -- The United States on Monday sanctioned a Chinese telecom firm suspected of illegal sales to North Korea and Iran.

The Department of Commerce said it was denying "export privileges" to ZTE for seven years after the telecom giant was found to have made false statements about its action to address illegal shipments of telecom equipment to North Korea and Iran.

The company agreed in March 2017 to pay a fine of US$1.19 billion and take disciplinary action against some of its employees.

"ZTE misled the Department of Commerce. Instead of reprimanding ZTE staff and senior management, ZTE rewarded them. This egregious behavior cannot be ignored," Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement.

The company covered up the fact that it paid full bonuses to employees that had engaged in illegal conduct, and failed to issue letters of reprimand, the department said.

The ban applies to U.S. components used in ZTE's products, the AFP reported, adding that the company had shipped cellular network equipment worth $32 million to Iran and made 283 shipments of cell phones to North Korea.