According to the new report, the DoJ previously issued Huawei administrative subpoenas to gather information on possible violations of Iranian sanctions. The New York Times last April reported the U.S. Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control subpoena, issued in December 2016, following a Commerce Department subpoena that summer.
Internal ZTE documents posted on the Commerce Department website cited a rival, referred to only as "F7", as also violating USA export controls in sales of equipment to Iran. ZTE had previously reached a settlement with the Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security, and pleaded guilty as part of a sanctions-violations agreement with the Justice Department.
Major US telecoms companies have already steered clear of the two Chinese firms, sometimes on the strong suggestions of US officials.
In a 2016 letter to the Commerce Department, 10 USA lawmakers said F7 was believed to be Huawei, citing media reports.More news: Johns Hopkins performs world's first penis, scrotum transplant on wounded soldier
Wall Street Journal wasn't able to get a hold of the details of the criminal investigation other than it was also about violating trade embargos against Iran.
Glenn Schloss, a spokesman for Huawei in Shenzhen, declined to comment about the probes.
Huawei and ZTE have denied these allegations. The company is also the world's No. 3 maker of smartphones. This post by Doug Dawson outlines some of the moves in Washington against both Huawei and ZTE, two Chinese telecommunications manufacturing giants.
In 2016, the Commerce Department made documents public that showed ZTE's misconduct and also revealed how a second company, identified only as F7, had successfully evaded US export controls. If Huawei were to eventually be cut off from buying USA components, which is not our base case assumption, then the market share gain opportunities for NOK, CIEN and INFN would become even greater, in our view.