A Chinese telecommunications company has agreed to pay $892 million for violating U.S. sanctions on Iran, settling a case that resulted in increased tension between the U.S. and China.
ZTE Corporation, one of the world’s largest telecommunications gear makers, pleaded guilty to signing contracts to sell hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of hardware and software from U.S. technology giants, including Microsoft, Intel and Qualcomm.
The penalties are among the largest ever imposed in a sanctions case.
“ZTE acknowledges the mistakes it made, takes responsibility for them, and remains committed to positive change in the company,” Chairman and Chief Executive Zhao Xianming said Tuesday in a statement.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement the company violated sanctions that are designed to “keep sensitive American technology out of the hands of hostile regimes like Iran’s.”
“This plea agreement holds them accountable, and makes clear that our government will use every tool we have to punish companies who would violate our laws … and jeopardize our national security,” Sessions added.
The settlement allowed ZTE, the fourth-largest smartphone vendor in the U.S., to avoid a cutoff of U.S. components that had been imposed by the Commerce Department in March 2016.
Without key components from U.S. technology companies, ZTE would have been at risk of needing to file for bankruptcy.