Democratic super-lobbyist Tony Podesta grossed more than $500,000 to represent a Chinese company criminally convicted in March of sending illegal shipments of telecom equipment to Iran, The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group has learned.
The seriousness of the illegal sales to Iran were so extreme and continued for so long — from 2010 to last year — the Department of Justice (DOJ) imposed a record $1.19 billion fine on the ZTE Telecommunications company, making it the largest penalty ever imposed in a U.S. sanctions case.
The Chinese firm hired the Podesta Group, one of Washington’s biggest and best-connected lobbying companies in the nation’s capital, in January 2016. ZTE retained Podesta’s personal help as negotiations intensified for a final resolution with DOJ during the final year of President Barack Obama’s tenure in the White House.
The Shenzhen-based company pleaded guilty on March 7 to violating a 22-year-old ban on shipments to Iran, including “conspiring by illegally shipping … U.S.-origin items to Iran, obstructing justice and making a material false statement,” according to the DOJ.
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