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FBI provides evidence of visa fraud at ZTE probation hearing -Breaking


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO – People pass a ZTE Corp building in Beijing, China on August 29, 2018. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo

Bruce Tomaso, Karen Freifeld

(Reuters] -On Monday, an FBI agent said that Chinese nationals who were granted research visas to enter the United States went to work at ZTE Corp (HK) in New Jersey – a potential sign that China’s tech company has violated its 2017 U.S. Plea Agreement.

Marcus Wondergem from the FBI stated at a Dallas federal court hearing that Chinese nationals entered the United States in the pretext of conducting research at Gee-Kung Chang’s lab. But they were only there for a short time and then moved on to New Jersey to live in apartments nearby ZTE.

“Is it true some of these people spent months in the laboratory without ever entering?” Assistant U.S. Attorney John de la Garza asked Wondergem.

Wondergem answered, “Yes it is,”

It is possible that ZTE has violated its probation in relation to a case regarding illegally shipping American technology into Iran. U.S. District Court Judge Ed Kinkeade brought ZTE into his courtroom for possible violations involving an alleged plot to commit visa fraud.

ZTE shares fell after news of the hearing was reported about a week earlier. They dropped more than 12% in Hong Kong last week and then fell 7% on Monday.

According to an indictment unveiled in March 2021, Chang and Jianjun, who were former ZTE researchers director in New Jersey are charged with conspiring to bring Chinese citizens to the United States for research at ZTE.

Chinese nationals entered the United States with J-1 visas. They are designed to work or study at sponsoring universities like Georgia Tech.

Wondergem, an FBI agent, testified that he had checked door logs from Georgia Tech’s lab and prepared leases for Morristown apartments.

Scott Barnard of Dallas represented ZTE. Wondergem admitted that Georgia Tech sponsored the J-1 visas and not ZTE. He also said that researchers are allowed to work at multiple locations.

Wondergem said, in addition, that despite many years of investigations in the Georgia Tech matter, neither ZTE or a U.S.-based subsidiary were indicted.

The hearing will not feature any other witnesses. Closing arguments are scheduled to start on Monday. The judge is yet to rule whether ZTE has violated probation.

Chang has pleaded no guilty. Robert Fisher, Chang’s lawyer, refused to comment. Yu’s situation is unknown. ZTE claimed that Yu left ZTE in 2019.

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