Shenzhen-based ZTE Corp, the country’s second biggest telecommunications equipment maker, told the Global Times Monday that it has always obeyed local laws during global business expansion, in response to media reports about its involvement in a bribery case in Mongolia.
Unnamed sources were quoted by the Chongqing Evening News as saying Monday that Mongolia’s anti-corruption agency had received reports accusing ZTE of involvement in bribery in the country.
The report said the anti-corruption agency of Mongolia has started a comprehensive investigation into the case and found evidence that ZTE committed bribery while managing an education project in Mongolia.
“ZTE’s business in Mongolia is completely in accordance with international conventions and local laws,” ZTE said in a statement e-mailed to the Global Times Monday.
As an international telecommunications enterprise, ZTE has always abided by the laws, the statement said.
The Chinese Embassy in Mongolia would neither confirm nor deny the report, while a staff member at the Mongolian Embassy in China said the embassy had received no information about the case, and would not provide his name, when reached by the Global Times Monday. A staff member at Mongolia’s anti-corruption agency was unable to understand and answer questions in English.
This is not the first time ZTE has been exposed for bribery in the past five years.
Media reported the company had been caught up in bribery cases in countries including Algeria, Norway and the Philippines.
The number of commercial briberies has been growing since the global financial turmoil in 2009, analysts said.
“Because of the slowdown of economic growth and the revival of trade protectionism globally, companies have sometimes been forced to sink below basic levels of commercial morality to face tough competition,” Liu Baocheng, director of the Center for International Business Ethics at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, told the Global Times Monday.
Liu also noted that poorly managed legal systems in developing countries are another cause of high bribery rates.
China joined the United Nations Convention against Corruption in 2003, which required member states to treat as a crime the bribery of staff members of foreign public affairs agencies and international organizations.
Liu said there is an urgent need for a stronger international mechanism that is authorized to make rulings on bribery.