Trump’s ZTE Zig-Zag

Timothy B. Lee, reporting four short days ago for Ars Technica:

Last year, ZTE admitted to an elaborate multi-year scheme to sell US-made technology to Iran and North Korea in violation of US sanctions laws. ZTE paid $890 million in penalties and said it was in the process of disciplining dozens of senior company officials who had orchestrated a scheme to violate US sanctions laws.

But last month the Trump administration accused ZTE of continuing to lie to the US government even after last year’s guilty plea. The company told the US government that the guilty executives had received letters of reprimand and had had their 2016 bonuses reduced. But the US now says that was a lie — many of the employees received full bonuses, and they didn’t receive letters of reprimand until early 2018 — after the US government challenged ZTE on the issue.

In the April 15 order activating the export ban against ZTE, US Commerce Department official Richard Majauskas wrote that ZTE had demonstrated a “pattern of deception, false statements, and repeated violations.” A July 2017 letter to US officials was “brimming with false statements,” he said.

ZTE announced that it was shutting the whole company down because it can’t operate without US components (Android software from Google and chips from Qualcomm). U.S. intelligence officials have also warned that ZTE phones (and Huawei’s) pose a security risk to U.S. citizens.

President Trump, today:

President Xi of China, and I, are working together to give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast. Too many jobs in China lost. Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!

America first.

Sunday, 13 May 2018