A nuclear engineering company with ties to the Chinese government pleaded guilty on Monday to charges of illegally exporting coatings that can withstand high temperatures to a power plant in Pakistan, the US Justice Department said.
China Nuclear Industry Hua- xing Construction Co Ltd (中國核工業華興建設) entered the guilty plea in the US District Court for the District of Columbia, according to the department.
The company admitted to charges that it conspired to ship the high-performance coatings through China to Pakistan in 2006 and 2007.
The shipments were made despite Washington’s denial of an application to export the coatings directly to Pakistan’s Chashma II nuclear power plant, according to papers filed in court ahead of the plea.
The Chinese state-owned company was charged with conspiring with the China subsidiary of the US company PPG Industries Inc to deliver high-performance epoxy coatings to the Pakistan nuclear power plant without obtaining permission.
PPG and its China subsidiary, PPG Paints Trading (Shanghai) Co, were already fined US$3.75 million two years ago in the case.
The US has restricted nuclear-related exports to Pakistan since the country’s first successful detonation of a nuclear device in 1998.
A lawyer for Huaxing did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The company agreed to a criminal fine of US$2 million, half of which it will not have to pay if it completes five years of probation, the Justice Department said.
Huaxing’s guilty plea is believed to be the first time a China-controlled corporation has entered a guilty plea in a US criminal export case, said Ronald Machen, the US attorney for the District of Columbia.