A US agency dealing with national security said Far East Cable Co. violated American export-control rules by signing contracts with Chinese networking giant ZTE Corp. and Iranian businesses to sell US-origin equipment to Iran. 

From September 2014 to January 2016, Far East Cable “served as a cutout” between ZTE -- which was under investigation by the US for export-rule violations at the time -- and Iranian telecommunications companies, the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security said in a statement Monday. 

Far East Cable’s actions are “part of an effort to conceal and obfuscate ZTE’s Iranian business from US investigators,” the BIS said in a July 29 letter to the company made available Monday. The agency is charging the cable maker with 18 violations of its export administration regulations. 

The Chinese cable maker was “facilitating ZTE shipments to Iran at the very time ZTE knew it was under investigation for the exact same conduct,” BIS Office of Export Enforcement Director John Sonderman said. The charges “should send a strong message to any company contemplating facilitating violations on behalf of another.”

In March 2017, ZTE pleaded guilty for its conduct related to these charges and broader violations of US export controls, and paid a combined penalty of $1.2 billion in criminal and administrative fines at the time.



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