Feds Probe Sales Of Dell PCs To Syria

Syria - Shutterstock - © Aleksey Klints

The sale of Dell PCs by a third party to the Syrian regime is being investigated by US federal authorities

Federal investigators in the US are investigating allegations that Dell PCs had been sold by a third party to the Syrian regime, in violation of trade sanctions.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) made public 9 December, Dell officials said the federal government began the inquiries following a 3 May article by The New York Times that said a distributor in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), BDL Gulf FZCO, had sold Dell technology to the Syrian government, which has been waging a bloody civil war with rebels for more than two years.

Dell Co-Operation

Dell officials said the company was co-operating with the federal probe while at the same time conducting its own internal investigation. The company has suspended doing business with BDL in the UAE pending the outcome in the investigations.

fbi2After The New York Times published its article, SEC staff had asked Dell to talk about the allegations and whether they could be considered a liability under US sanctions or export laws. Dell officials said the company had received an administrative subpoena from the US Department of Commerce looking for documents related to sales, exports and services related to BDL.

The company was alerted 3 June that the case had been turned over to the Department of Justice. “Dell has been in regular communication with the Assistant US Attorney handling the matter and is co-operating with the investigation,” the tech vendor told the SEC.

In addition, “in parallel with the governmental inquiries referred to above, Dell is conducting an internal investigation into the foregoing matters with the assistance of outside counsel,” company officials told the SEC in their letter. “Dell is reviewing documents, collecting information, and interviewing employees as part of its investigation.”

Contract Violation?

Dell also noted that the company has a standard contract that prohibits any of its employees or contractors from selling equipment to particular countries if doing so would violate US laws or sanctions.

“Dell does not conduct any business directly in any country identified as a state sponsor of terrorism, including Syria, unless under authority of a license or license exception from the US Government and the governments of any other countries with jurisdiction, nor does Dell conduct business with, or provide financing to, the governments of any of those countries,” the company wrote.

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Originally published on eWeek.

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