May 10 (Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security this week raided a factory and sales office operated by one of the world’s largest solar panel makers, China’s Jinko Solar Holding Co Ltd (JKS.N), the agency said on Wednesday.
A spokesperson for the Homeland Security Investigations arm of DHS, Mike Meares, said search warrants were executed in Florida and California on Tuesday as part of an ongoing federal investigation. He did not provide details on the substance of the probe.
Jinko, which is based in Shanghai, has a solar panel factory in Jacksonville, Florida, and a sales and operations office in San Francisco.
The company is one of few global solar manufacturers that have set up domestic production in recent years. Most U.S. solar panels are imported from Asia.
The company, through a spokesperson, said its business was operating normally and that it was “engaging constructively with relevant agencies to understand the nature of the inquiry”.
“Jinko Solar is committed to operating in accordance with the highest ethical standards and adhering to the laws and regulations of the countries where it operates, including the United States,” the spokesperson said.
In the last year, Jinko and other large Chinese panel makers have had shipments of solar equipment detained by U.S. customs officials under the Uyghur Forced Labor Protection Act, a new law banning imports from China’s Xinjiang region over concerns about forced labor.
In recent months, however, Jinko and others have had shipments released from detention. U.S. Customs and Border Protection is a division of DHS.
Jinko shares slid 8% on Tuesday after the raid in Florida was reported by several local news outlets. The stock recovered slightly on Wednesday and was trading up 29 cents at $43.76 on the New York Stock Exchange in late afternoon trading.
Chinese authorities have launched an investigation into global consulting firm Capvision in the latest national security probe to highlight the risks facing foreign companies in China.
The probe comes after authorities discovered that foreign consulting firms had been used by overseas institutions to obtain sensitive information including state secrets, Chinese state media CCTV said on Monday.
“Capvision accepted a large number of consulting projects from overseas companies on industries sensitive to China, and some of these firms had close ties with foreign governments, military and intelligence agencies,” CCTV said during a 15-minute television segment.
Capvision, which has headquarters in New York and Shanghai, did not immediately respond to a request for comment but said in a statement posted on WeChat that it would adhere to China’s national security regulations and lead the way in ensuring industry compliance.
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