Federal prosecutors in New York have been investigating since at least last year whether Chinese tech company Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. [HWT.UL] violated U.S. sanctions in relation to Iran. The prosecutors have been investigating alleged shipping of U.S.-origin products to Iran and other countries in violation of U.S. export and sanctions laws, two of the sources said on condition of anonymity. The probe, first reported on Wednesday, is being run out of the U.S. Attorney's office in Brooklyn, the sources said. John Marzulli, a spokesman for the prosecutor's office, would neither confirm nor deny the existence of the investigation.
Huawei, which makes handsets and telecommunications network equipment, said it complies with "all applicable laws and regulations where it operates, including the applicable export control and sanction laws and regulations of the UN, US, and EU". News of the Justice Department probe follows a series of U.S. actions aimed at stopping or reducing access by Huawei and Chinese smartphone maker ZTE Corp to the U.S. economy amid allegations the companies could be using their technology to spy on Americans.
U.S. authorities last week banned American companies from selling to ZTE for seven years, saying the Chinese company had broken a settlement agreement related to Iran sanctions with repeated false statements - a move that threatens to cut off ZTE's supply chain. The ZTE ban was the result of its failure to comply with an agreement with the U.S. Commerce Department reached last year after it pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiring to violate U.S. sanctions by illegally shipping U.S. goods and technology to Iran.