Friday, May 25, 2012

U.S. probes China's ZTE over tech sales to Iran

(Reuters) - The Department of Commerce is investigating Chinese telecommunications equipment maker ZTE Corp for allegedly selling embargoed U.S. computer products to Iran.

The investigation was launched following reports by Reuters in March and April that ZTE had signed contracts to ship millions of dollars worth of hardware and software from some of America's best-known tech firms to Telecommunication Co of Iran (TCI) and a unit of the consortium that controls it along with the Iranian regime. TCI is Iran's largest telecom carrier.

"We've been pursuing it very aggressively," said a Commerce Department official. Investigators already have met with representatives of ZTE.

A spokesman for ZTE, based in Shenzhen, China, declined to comment.

The U.S. product makers - which included Microsoft Corp, IBM, Hewlett-Packard Co, Oracle Corp and Dell Inc, among others - have all said they were not aware of the Iranian contracts. The Commerce Department official said there is no evidence the American companies were complicit in the transactions. Read More