Worldwide: 中兴通讯和解案揭示,美国政府对非ು

Last Updated: March 29 2017
Article by Harry L. Clark

3月7日,美国政府与中兴通讯股份有限公司及其关联公司(以下统称"中兴")就涉及该司的刑事及民事诉讼达成和解。中兴是中国最大的上市电信设备制造商,同时也是全球第四大电信设备制造商。

美国对中兴的控诉主要是围绕中兴违反美国的经济制裁和出口管制法律法规,向伊朗和北朝鲜提供电子产品的指控。如果此和解协议完全执行,中兴将支付至少8.92亿美元(最高可达11.9亿美元)的罚款和承担其他处罚,中兴还需接受美国政府接下来几年干预式的合规监管。这是美国官方对违反美国贸易制裁的非金融实体做出的最高额罚款。

此次的中兴和解案为其他非美国公司敲响了警钟,非美国公司都应当严肃审慎地检视其国际活动板块是否会牵涉到美国贸易相关法律法规。

美国制裁和出口管制

此次中兴和解案涉及的美国法律法规包含以下禁止内容:

  1. 禁止所有货物、服务、软件和技术信息从美国出口至伊朗、北朝鲜和其他被美国贸易禁运覆盖的区域;
  2. 禁止所有美国人(" U.S. persons")在美国之外将这些商品供应至被美国贸易禁运覆盖的区域;及
  3. 如果商品是源于美国的或至少包含一定源于美国的成分的,那么禁止 任何人 – 包括非美国公司 – 将这些商品在美国之外供应至被美国贸易禁运覆盖的区域。

上述的"美国人",指的是美国公民、有永久居留资格的外国人、在美国法下成立的法律实体,以及任何在美国领土内行动的人。

这些法律法规包括由美国财政部海外资产控制办公室("OFAC")管理的经济制裁规定,也包括由美国商务部工业与安全局("BIS")管理的和制裁相关的出口管制规定。

上述的第三种美国贸易禁令对于非美国公司来说是极为关键的。在其宽泛的境外管辖框架下,美国政府仅根据贸易商品(货物、服务、软件或技术信息)是在美国境内创造或包含至少一定的在美国境内创造的成分,即对在境外运营的非美国公司的贸易适用美国制裁和出口管制相关法律法规。

中兴的和解协议

中兴就美国政府对其未经授权向伊朗供应商品、密谋策划违反制裁和出口管制要求、阻碍公正和向美国政府做出虚假陈述的刑事指控,做了有罪答辩。中兴同时与OFAC和BIS就其提起的制裁和出口管控相关的民事诉讼达成和解,中兴并未承认 OFAC提出的指控,但承认了BIS指控的违规行为。

虽然据报告称,中兴从其被控的非法行为中获得约1.435亿美元,但是中兴同意支付超过8.923亿美元罚金和其他民事处罚,包括支付超过4.304亿美元的刑事罚金,另外需给BIS的3亿美元罚金暂缓支付,视未来七年中兴遵守和解协议并接受独立的合规审计及监管的情况而定。此外,中兴还同意做出一些深远广泛的承诺,其中包括同意对其公司运营设立独立监管人、成立公司合规审计项目、维持合规项目运行,以及保持与美国政府的协作。

美国政府机构强调了对中兴购买源于美国、受美国出口管制的商品成分,将它们融合进中兴基础网络设备产品,以及最终将这些产品供应给伊朗的指控。美国政府同时强调了对中兴故意精心设计以将这些活动隐瞒于美国政府、误导执法官员的指控。

从本和解案中获得的经验

首先,中兴和解案表明了美国政府有意将经济制裁和出口管制在美国境外进行完全的、非常广泛的适用。这体现在报告所称的中兴从被控非法活动中所获的收益与被处罚金和其他非金钱处罚措施之间的不相称性,非金钱处罚措施无疑将会产生巨大的额外成本和对中兴商业活动的干扰。

虽然此案是由奥巴马政府进行调查和起诉,但这些处罚却是特朗普政府的第一批行动之一,其司法部长,财政部长和商务部长宣布了各自机构对该案的决议。美国商务部长强调:"我们提醒全世界注意:游戏结束了......那些藐视我们经济制裁和出口管制法律的人将难逃惩罚——他们将遭受最严重的后果"。

第二,中兴案有以下两个特别之处:(i)报告称中兴的行为有预谋和故意,系统而持续,并有隐藏和遮掩等违反美国法律的行为;(ii)证据明确 ——报告称有确凿证据显示中兴通讯的最高层管理层,与其法律总管一同参与制定了从事这些违法行为的计划。 在这种极端的情况下,司法部可以设法起诉参与违法行为的个人。基于某些原因,本案避免了这一结果,但非中国公司的高管在违规案件中可能就不会有那么幸运。

第三,本案中中兴需承担责任的理论关键点在于,中兴向伊朗所提供的,即由非美国公司在美国境外生产的非源于美国的产品,包含了源于美国的产品部件。虽然美国的制裁和出口管制法律法规的域外适用可能是一个国际法上的问题,但美国政府拥有重要的筹码使其能够与非美国公司达成重大的和解协议。

本案中,对中兴通讯所持的筹码主要来自于美国政府具有阻止中兴获得美国的组件、零部件和技术的能力。不能获得这些东西将削弱中兴在全球开发和制造产品的能力。实际上,美国政府对中兴颁发了临时许可,使其在待执法行动决议期间能够继续与美国公司进行交易。

美国政府的这一筹码使其能够达成严苛的和解条款——包括让非美国公司接受与其和禁运管辖区有关活动的商业价值严重不成比例的条件(只要该公司的业务战略需要进入美国市场)。另外,美国政府也毫无疑问可以并将会利用处罚对象使用了来源于美国的零件和技术这套责任理论作为主要理由对其该受的处罚(包括刑事处罚)做出评估。

这种情况下,对非美国公司来说,如果发展和促进有效的贸易合规保障措施能预防类似于中兴和解案所带来的那种不利影响,哪怕仅是一小部分,都是非常值得的。

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