US judge rules in favor of Chinese ZTE, ending probation | Business and economy
The decision comes on the last day of the company’s probation for illegally shipping US technology to Iran and North Korea.
A US judge ruled on Tuesday that China’s ZTE Corp, a major maker of telecommunications equipment, should be allowed to end its five-year probation following a 2017 guilty plea. for illegally shipping American technology to Iran and North Korea.
Trading in ZTE shares was halted before markets opened in Shenzhen and Hong Kong after U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade’s ruling in Texas was announced.
The decision came on the last day of the company’s probation period, which ZTE had been accused of violating in an alleged conspiracy to bring Chinese nationals to the United States to conduct research at ZTE. through visa fraud.
According to an unsealed indictment last March, a former ZTE research director and a Georgia Institute of Technology professor allegedly conspired to bring Chinese nationals to the United States to conduct research at ZTE from at least least 2014 to 2018 while on university-sponsored J-1 visas. .
Although ZTE has not been charged in the visa case, which is pending in Atlanta, Georgia, the judge held a hearing in Dallas last week on the allegation of fraud as a possible probation violation. from ZTE.
In its decision Tuesday, Kinkeade found ZTE legally responsible for the actions of the former ZTE director, but decided to take no further action against ZTE.
ZTE had already reached the maximum term of probation and, according to the company, had already been fined the maximum as well. As part of its 2017 guilty plea, ZTE paid $892 million to the US government.
There was an “open question about the legal tools left to the court,” the judge wrote.
Despite the favorable ruling, the judge encouraged the government to pursue all reasonable charges and criminal or civil penalties against the company.