Feeds

FBI investigates ZTE cover-up allegations

Report claims ZTE sold illegal tech to Iran

SANS - Survey on application security programs

The FBI has opened a criminal investigation into allegations that Chinese telecoms kit maker ZTE flouted United States laws by selling technology from US firms to Iran and then deliberately covering its tracks once the media caught wind.

The Smoking Gun claims to have obtained a top secret FBI affidavit which reveals that senior officials at the firm were “engaged in an on-going attempt to corruptly obstruct and impede” a Department of Commerce investigation.

The story first broke when Reuters reported in March that ZTE had sold its ZXMT phone monitoring product to the state-run Telecommunication Co. of Iran (TCI) in 2010 as part of a €98.6m (£82.4m) deal for networking equipment.

The more damning allegations, however, centred around a 900-page ‘packing list’ of products sold to TCI which included AV software, switches and monitors, some of which were made by US companies like Microsoft, HP and Symantec and therefore subject to the country’s strict trade embargo with Iran.

In a statement at the time, ZTE said it “always respects and complies with international and local laws wherever it operates”, and claimed it had restricted its business practices in Iran since 2011, but didn’t comment on allegations of breaking US law.

The main revelations in the affidavit come from Ashley Yablon, an attorney with ZTE’s US subsidiary.

He apparently told the FBI that at one key meeting to decide ZTE’s response to the reports, a group of senior officials “huddled together in the corner of the room” discussing shredding documents and changing the incriminating packing list.

According to TSG, Yablon has handed over the files on his work laptop to the FBI.

These files, he says, detail how ZTE established subsidiary companies or other affiliates to “facilitate the corporation’s purchase of US-made telecommunications components for inclusion intended to be shipped or exported to countries subject to US embargo”.

The Shenzhen-based company told The Reg today it had no comment on the breaking allegations. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.