These new allegations come just as the probation period comes to a close for ZTE’s previous violations of international trade law. The company pleaded guilty for violating US sanctions on North Korea and Iran.
According to the NBC News report, the new allegations — which haven’t been previously reported — center on alleged bribes ZTE gave to various worldwide officials to help advance its own business interests.
The United States Department of Justice didn’t issue a comment on these new allegations, but ZTE itself did issue a short statement:
ZTE is fully committed to meeting its legal and compliance obligations. The top priority of the company’s leadership team is making ZTE a trusted and reliable business partner in the global marketplace, and the company is proud of the enormous progress it has made. Beyond this, it would not be appropriate for ZTE to comment.
Unfortunately, NBC News could not fully determine the specifics surrounding these new bribery allegations. However, previous information suggests that ZTE may have possibly given kickbacks to the US ambassador to Kenya, to the tune of $5,000 per month. This alleged bribery could have influenced the company to gain a contract for landline telephone operations in the country.
As part of its previous guilty plea for trade violations, the company has a legal monitor assigned to it. This monitor is supposed to keep checks on the company and file reports about its operations. However, none of those reports are public and, when contacted for comment, the monitor refused to give a statement.