18 July 2019
Huawei insists it complies with “all applicable laws and regulations where it operates". Photo: Bloomberg
Huawei insists it complies with “all applicable laws and regulations where it operates". Photo: Bloomberg

US probing Huawei for possible Iran sanctions violations: report

US prosecutors in New York have been investigating whether Chinese technology company Huawei Technologies violated US sanctions in relation to Iran, Reuters reports, citing sources familiar with the situation.

Since at least 2016, US authorities have been probing Huawei’s alleged shipping of US-origin products to Iran and other countries in violation of US export and sanctions laws, two of the sources said.

News of the Justice Department probe follows a series of US actions aimed at stopping or reducing access by Huawei and Chinese smartphone maker ZTE Corp. (000063.CN) to the US economy amid allegations the companies could be using their technology to spy on Americans.

The Justice Department probe is being run out of the US attorney’s office in Brooklyn, the sources said.

Huawei, the world’s largest maker of telecommunications network equipment and the No. 3 smartphone supplier, said it complies with “all applicable laws and regulations where it operates, including the applicable export control and sanction laws and regulations of the UN, US and EU”.

The probe of Huawei is similar to one that ZTE says is now threatening its survival.

The United States last week banned American firms from selling parts and software to ZTE for seven years. Washington accused ZTE of violating an agreement on punishing employees after the company illegally shipped US goods to Iran.

ZTE, which sells smartphones in the United States, paid US$890 million in fines and penalties, with an additional penalty of US$300 million that could be imposed.

US authorities have subpoenaed Huawei seeking information related to possible export and sanctions violations, two sources said.

ZTE and Huawei also have been under scrutiny by US lawmakers over cybersecurity concerns.

In February, Senator Richard Burr, the Republican chairman of the US Senate Intelligence Committee, cited concerns about the spread of Chinese technologies in the US, which he called “counterintelligence and information security risks that come prepackaged with the goods and services of certain overseas vendors”.

Huawei and ZTE have denied these allegations.

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