Inside the billion-dollar plea agreement this week between the U.S. government and the Chinese telecom giant ZTE Corp. sits a tale of lawyers gone bad. And at least one who didn’t.

…The documents identify the senior managers only by title.“ZTEC senior managers created an elaborate system to hide the 2013-2016 Iran data, authorized the false information that ZTEC defense counsel unwittingly provided to attorneys for the DOJ and federal law enforcement agents, and took steps to delete all communications related to this cover-up,” the government’s documents states.The criminal investigation had been ongoing since 2012.

…after Reuters reported in March 2012 about the company’s deals with Iran. Then the general counsel of ZTE’s U.S. subsidiary in Dallas, Ashley Kyle Yablon, began cooperating with U.S. investigators. Yablon said ZTE in-house counsel from China asked him to help in a cover-up and he refused.Yablon is no longer listed as ZTE’s general counsel in Dallas and could not be reached for comment. ZTE under the plea deal agreed that the company general counsel and three other senior managers either have resigned, would resign or be terminated within six months.

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