Vietnamese telecom company US subsidiary settles export control violation case

VTA Telecom Corporation, a California-based company, agreed this week to pay $ 1.87 million to resolve allegations the company has repeatedly provided false information to the U.S. government in order to cover up defense goals for its exports.

VTA Telecom began purchasing goods in the United States in 2015 for its parent company, a Hanoi-based state-owned telecommunications company, according to billing documents released by the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) from the US Department of Commerce. The elements, which the leaders knew then, were intended to support a defense program, but the company provided false information to BIS and other agencies when applying for licenses, according to the documents.

“BIS will not tolerate exporters who provide false statements regarding export regulations and laws, ”said Kevin J. Kurland, Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement at BIS.

VTA Telecom had provided plausible but spurious civilian end uses for the products, according to BIS. Based on these false end-user statements, BIS granted licenses to VTA Telecom for the 2016 export of transistors and development tools; U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have issued a withholding order on certain items after receiving the same declarations, according to BIS documents. VTA Telecom made other false claims on export documents that year, including for shipments of goods requiring licensing, BIS found.

BIS suspended $ 200,000 from the penalty amount of $ 1.87 million for two years pending satisfaction of certain conditions, including certain compliance obligations, the agency said. Among the obligations: spend $ 25,000 on additional export control compliance efforts and retain a director of trade compliance for two years, according to BIS documents.

VTA Telecom’s most recent exports were 50 component shipments on May 2, 2018, valued at around $ 3,000 to a company called Công Ty Tnhh Công Nghệ Epi Việt Nam, an electronic products distributor whose name translates as EPI Vietnam Technologies Co., Ltd., according to trade records.

The US review of VTA Telecom appears to have been made public in June 2019 by tech outlet One Zero. The parent company, Vietnamese state-owned telecommunications giant Viettel, was under a national security investigation for seeking to procure missile engines and guidance equipment through its subsidiary, according to the report. One Zero.

Viettel is Vietnam’s largest telecommunications company and has 20 subsidiaries operating in various other economic sectors, including investment, real estate and foreign trade, according to its website. In 2006, Viettel decided to expand globally, and among its brands, Mytel, a telecommunications company in Myanmar, says the site.

Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC), a military-linked Burmese conglomerate sanctioned by the United States, UK, Canada and the European Union, holds a minority stake in Mytel via a subsidiary, Kharon reported in April. MEC executives are involved in and on Mytel’s board of directors, Kharon found at the time. Hundreds of thousands have lost internet access after Mytel equipment was damaged in attacks since opponents of the coup in Myanmar declared a “people’s defensive war” against the junta military, Reuters reported last month.

In 2013, VTA Telecom applied to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for the right to provide international telecommunications services from the United States. However, the company did not tell the FCC that the name of its state-owned parent company in Vietnamese is Tập Ä‘oàn Công nghiệp Viá»…n thông Quân Ä‘á»™i, which translates to “Military Telecommunications Industry Group,” or that Viettel is owned. and operated by the Ministry of Defense. , reported One Zero. VTA Telecom withdrew its application to the FCC in June 2020, according to records seen by Kharon.

The One Zero report also highlighted the criminal prosecution of Huy Quang Bui, which had incorporated VTA Telecom in Florida under an earlier name, Viettel America Corporation, according to state records. Bui eventually got caught in an undercover operation while searching for various US-controlled property under the direction of his superiors, One Zero reported. Bui pleaded guilty and was sentenced to one year in prison, according to the US court record. He was then deported to Vietnam to be with his family, according to the One Zero report.

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