Dell feels cold probe of US Dept of Justice amid Syria PC sales claims

Blood-bath nation allegedly got its hands on American kit – and Uncle Sam wants to know how

US authorities are investigating claims of embargo-busting sales of Dell computers to the Syrian government.

It is understood officials at the US Department of Justice (DoJ) are looking into allegations that the equipment was resold into the blood-stained nation despite strict trade sanctions.

The probe was revealed this week in paperwork filed by Dell to the financial watchdog SEC, which had questions for the Texan company following a New York Times article.

It was alleged by that newspaper in May that a Dubai-based distributor called BDL sold Dell-built equipment to Anas Hasoon Trading, a company in Damascus that apparently has contracts to provide computers to the Syrian government.

Dell stated in its response to the SEC that it received from the US Department of Commerce an administrative subpoena for documents regarding BDL. The PC maker added that the case was handed over to the DoJ in June, and that it has also suspended business with BDL pending the outcome of the probe.

The paperwork continued:

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 U.S. 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.

In addition, Dell does not authorize its resellers and distributors to make sales of Dell products to any end user in such countries and, in its reseller and distributor contracts, specifically notifies its authorized partners that the sale of any Dell products to or in restricted countries is prohibited by U.S. law.

Dell added that it’s been in “regular communication” with the Assistant US Attorney handling the matter, and is “cooperating with the investigation.”

The computer maker has also conducted an internal inquiry.

America's Syria Accountability Act prohibits the sale of goods containing more than 10 per cent US-made component parts to Syria.

Dell told The Reg today: “Dell continues to cooperate with the government as the investigation continues. Dell requires all resellers to comply with US trade laws and regulations, just as Dell does. Resellers of Dell products and services are contractually prohibited from selling or shipping any technology in violation of those laws.” ®

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