• Poland arrests Huawei employee, Polish man on spying allegations: state television

    Posted January 12, 2019 07:26:27

    Poland's counterespionage agency has arrested a Chinese manager at tech giant Huawei in Poland and one of its own former officers on charges of spying for China, state television reported on Friday.

    Key points:

    The two men were arrested on Tuesday (local time), according to the Internal Security Agency. Polish security agents also searched the Warsaw offices of Huawei and Orange, Poland's leading communications provider, where the former Polish spy had recently worked, seizing documents and electronic data.

    The homes of both men were also searched, according to TVP, the state broadcaster.

    The development comes as the US exerts pressure on its allies to block Huawei, the world's biggest maker of telecommunications network equipment.

    A US dispute with China over its ban on Huawei is spilling over to Europe, the company's biggest foreign market.

    The company is a leader in the development of next-generation "5G" mobile networks and a key player in building them in Europe, but some countries are starting to reconsider using Huawei's equipment over data security concerns.

    Some European governments and telecom companies are following America's lead in questioning whether using Huawei for vital infrastructure for mobile networks could leave them exposed to snooping by the Chinese Government.

    Long-term operation into 'espionage activities'

    Maciej Wasik, deputy head of Poland's special service, said the operation that resulted in the arrests of the two suspects had been underway for a long time. He said "both carried out espionage activities against Poland".

    TVP said the men had proclaimed their innocence and were refusing to give testimony in the case.

    TVP, which is close to the Government, identified the arrested Chinese man as Weijing W, saying he was a director at Huawei in Poland. The broadcaster said the man also went by the Polish first name of Stanislaw and had previously worked at the Chinese consulate in Gdansk.

    State TV identified the Pole as Piotr D, and said he worked at the Internal Security Agency until 2011, where he served as deputy director in the department of information security.

    If convicted, the men could face up to 10 years in prison, the security agency said.

    Huawei issued a statement from its Chinese headquarters saying it was aware of the situation and was looking into it.

    "We have no comment for the time being. Huawei complies with all applicable laws and regulations in the countries where it operates, and we require every employee to abide by the laws and regulations in the countries where they are based," it said.

    Geopolitical tensions over Huawei intensified after its chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, who is the daughter of company founder Ren Zhengfei, was arrested December 1 in Canada in connection with US accusations that the company violated restrictions on sales of American technology to Iran.

    The United States wants her extradited to face charges that she misled banks about the company's business dealings in Iran. She is out on bail in Canada awaiting extradition proceedings.

    Huawei has been blocked in the US 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.

    AP

    Topics: courts-and-trials, world-politics, security-intelligence, poland

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