Chinese telecoms company ZTE is the subject of a new bribery investigation at the US Justice Department, centred on suspected bribes paid to foreign officials to gain advantages in its worldwide operations, NBC News said. A spokesman for the Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Nor did the company. ZTE pleaded guilty in 2017 and paid nearly US$900 million to settle with the US after an investigation found the telecommunications equipment maker conspired to evade US embargoes by buying US components, incorporating them into ZTE equipment and illegally shipping them to Iran. A year later, the Trump administration slapped a ban on US companies selling goods to the company after it determined ZTE made false statements about disciplining 35 employees tied to the sanctions violations. France said to allow some Huawei gear in its 5G mobile network The ban was lifted in 2018 after the company paid a US$1 billion penalty to the US Treasury and put another US$400 million in escrow. ZTE is the smaller rival to China’s Huawei Technologies, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment maker. Huawei has been on the Commerce Department’s entity list since May, which means US companies are restricted from selling goods and technology to the company. Purchase the China AI Report 2020 brought to you by SCMP Research and enjoy a 20% discount (original price US$400). This 60-page all new intelligence report gives you first-hand insights and analysis into the latest industry developments and intelligence about China AI. Get exclusive access to our webinars for continuous learning, and interact with China AI executives in live Q&A. Offer valid until 31 March 2020.