Poland arrests Huawei employee on spying charges

Marsha Scott
January 12, 2019

Huawei is facing increased spying accusations from the U.S. and its allies.

Poland has arrested a Chinese employee of Huawei and a Polish national involved in cyber business on allegations of spying, Polish media reported on Friday, deepening the controversy over Western criticism of the Chinese telecoms equipment maker. Both are accused of espionage. Huawei, on the other hand, said that it's aware of the situation but denies comments for now.

Polish state TV said that one of two people arrested was a Chinese man identified as Weijing W., who was a Huawei director in Poland.

It's the latest setback for Huawei in Europe, where the company has ambitious plans to roll out next-generation "5G" mobile networks, which it is a leader in developing.

Huawei has been blocked in the US since 2012 after the House Intelligence Committee report found that using the company's technology could pose a security risk.

The Polish national, Piotr D., was a former high-ranking officer of the Internal Security Agency until 2011. The other is allegedly a former security agent who recently worked with the Polish branch of France's Orange telecommunications company.

"On Tuesday, the ABW (Internal Security Agency) officials conducted actions, as a result of which, we handed over belongings of one of our employees", a spokesperson for the telecom said in an emailed statement.

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"We have no information as to whether this is at all related to his work duties", Jabczynski told AFP.

The Chinese government retaliated against the arrest by detaining Michael Kovrig, a former Canadian diplomat, about a month ago, claiming he's a national security risk.

Even without concrete evidence, many countries around the world are banning Huawei from working on their national 5G grid, with many more considering the same move.

Huawei has been blocked in the USA since 2012, when a House Intelligence Committee report found it was a security risk and recommended that the government and private companies stop buying its network equipment.

Last month, a senior European Union official warned that the bloc should be "worried" about Huawei and other Chinese firms. The ABW materials show that they both acted for the benefit of the Chinese special services. "And this is about mandatory backdoors", European Commission Vice President Andrus Ansip told reporters.

"It's not a good sign when companies have to open their systems for some kind of secret services", he said. Her arrest has sparked a surge of patriotism in China with companies encouraging staff to buy Huawei smartphones, with several companies offering employee subsidies to buy phones from the home-grown company.

A year ago the company also said it had signed memorandums of understanding for 5G equipment with 45 operators in Asia, Europe and North America.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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