[１６日 ロイター] – Applied Materials (AMAT.O), the largest U.S. semiconductor manufacturing equipment company, is under criminal investigation for allegedly bypassing regulations and exporting products to China’s largest semiconductor company, Central Integrated Circuit Manufacturing (SMIC). . This was revealed by three people familiar with the matter.
The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating whether Applied Materials may have exported hundreds of millions of dollars worth of semiconductor manufacturing equipment to SMIC without obtaining formal export permits, one of the people said.
The U.S. government has restricted exports of advanced semiconductors and semiconductor manufacturing equipment to China, and this year formed a special team to crack down on violations of the regulations.
Applied said on the 16th that it disclosed in October 2022 that it had received a subpoena from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts seeking information about shipments to certain Chinese customers.
“We are cooperating with the U.S. government and remain committed to complying with international laws and regulations, including export controls and trade regulations.”
The prosecutor’s office said, “We will neither confirm nor deny the investigation.” Sources said prosecutors from the National Security Division are handling the investigation into Applied.
According to people familiar with the investigation, Applied repeatedly shipped semiconductor manufacturing equipment from its factory in Gloucester, Rhode Island, to a subsidiary in South Korea, which then sent the equipment to SMIC.
Such shipments are said to have begun after the U.S. Department of Commerce added SMIC to its de facto embargo list in December 2020.
Reuters could not confirm at this time whether Applied violated regulations, and it remains to be seen whether the investigation will result in charges being filed.
SMIC was added to the embargo list due to its ties to the Chinese military. The company did not respond to a request for comment about product shipments from Applied.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Commerce, which is responsible for export control, declined to comment.
Liu Pengyu, a spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in Washington, said he was not aware of the Applied investigation, but emphasized that export restrictions are generally “not consistent with the principles of a market economy and fair competition.” .
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