ZTE says it has not been notified of alleged U.S. bribery investigation


FILE PHOTO: People walk past a ZTE logo outside its booth at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, February 25, 2019. REUTERS/Sergio Perez

SHENZHEN, China (Reuters) – ZTE said it had not received any notice from U.S. authorities after NBC News reported on Friday that the Chinese telecoms company was the subject of a new bribery investigation.

ZTE said its operations continue as normal.

The NBC report said the U.S. Justice Department was investigating whether ZTE paid foreign officials to gain advantages in its global operations.

“The Company would like to clarify that it has not received notices from the relevant government departments of the United States in this regard,” it said in a notice filed on the Hong Kong and Shenzhen stock exchanges.

ZTE pleaded guilty in 2017 and paid nearly $900 million to settle with the U.S. after an investigation found the telecommunications equipment maker conspired to evade U.S. embargoes by buying U.S. components, incorporating them into ZTE equipment and illegally shipping them to Iran.

A year later, the Trump administration barred U.S. companies from selling goods to the company after it determined ZTE made false statements about disciplining 35 employees tied to the sanctions violations.

The ban was lifted in 2018 after the company paid a $1 billion penalty to the U.S. Treasury and put another $400 million in escrow.

ZTE is the smaller rival to China’s Huawei Technologies, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment maker.

Reporting by David Kirton. Editing by Gerry Doyle

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