ZTE further lied to federal investigators during the course of the investigation when it insisted, through outside and in-house counsel, that the company had stopped sending U.S.-origin items to Iran. In fact, while the investigation was ongoing, ZTE resumed its business with Iran and shipped millions of dollars’ worth of U.S. items there.
ZTE also created an elaborate scheme to hide the data related to these transactions from a forensic accounting firm hired by defense counsel to conduct a review of ZTE’s transactions with sanctioned countries. It did so knowing that the information provided to the forensic accounting firm would be reported to the U.S. government by outside counsel. Outside counsel was not aware of this scheme and indeed was wholly unaware that ZTE had resumed business with Iran. After ZTE informed its counsel of the scheme, counsel reported – with permission from ZTE – the conduct to the U.S. government.