U.S. Defense Contractor Illegally Helped China Build Attack Helicopters
Monday, July 02, 2012
United Technologies CEO Louis Chênevert
China’s military today has its first attack helicopter, thanks in part to a major American defense contractor that illegally provided important software and in the process violated U.S. export control laws.
Federal prosecutors announced this week that United Technologies and two of its subsidiaries were punished for selling engine-control software to the Chinese 10 years ago. The companies were ordered to pay a $75 million fine for violating an arms embargo that’s been in effect since the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.
United Technologies and subsidiary Hamilton Sundstrand were punished for lying to federal officials about the sale and trying to cover it up. The other subsidiary, Pratt & Whitney Canada, which sold the software to China, pleaded guilty to two criminal charges, violating the Arms Export Control Act and making false statements.
Officials at the Department of Justice characterized the illegal sale, which helped the Chinese develop the Z-10 attack helicopter, as a potential risk to American troops overseas and U.S. allies.
As usual in such cases, no corporate executives at United Technologies or its subsidiaries were held criminally responsible for the crimes committed by the companies that ran.
United Technologies received $7.9 billion in contracts from the U.S. government in 2011. According to the Project on Government Oversight, this is the 17th time in 17 years that the company has had to settle federal misconduct charges.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
To Learn More:
Documents Detail United Technologies' $75 million Settlement in China Export Case (by Neil Gordon, Project on Government Oversight)
United Technologies Acknowledges Coverup of Sale of Military Software To China (by Sari Horwitz, Washington Post)
United Technologies Pleads Guilty in Exports to China (by Chris Dolmetsch, John Dillon and Jeff Bliss, Bloomberg News)
Is GE Helping Chinese Communists Develop Advanced Military Aviation Technology? (by David Wallechinsky and Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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