Huawei Sacks Em­ployee Ar­rested In Poland on Spy­ing Charges


HONG KONG (Reuters) - Chi­nese telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions equip­ment maker Huawei HWT.UL said on Satur­day it had sacked an em­ployee ar­rested in Poland on spy­ing charges in a case that could in­ten­sify Western se­cu­rity con­cerns about the com­pany.

Poland’s in­ter­nal af­fairs min­is­ter, Joachim Brudzin­ski, called for the Euro­pean Union and NATO to work on a joint po­si­tion over whether to ex­clude Huawei from their mar­kets fol­low­ing the ar­rest of the Chi­nese em­ployee and a for­mer Pol­ish se­cu­rity of­fi­cial on Fri­day.

The two men have heard the charges and could be held for three months.

Huawei, the world’s big­gest pro­ducer of telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions equip­ment, faces in­tense scru­tiny in the West over its re­la­tion­ship with China’s gov­ern­ment and U.S.-led al­le­ga­tions that its de­vices could be used by Bei­jing for spy­ing.

No ev­i­dence has been pro­duced pub­licly and the firm has re­peat­edly de­nied the ac­cu­sa­tions, but sev­eral Western coun­tries have re­stricted Huawei’s ac­cess to their mar­kets.

In Au­gust, U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump signed a bill that barred the U.S. gov­ern­ment from us­ing Huawei equip­ment and is con­sid­er­ing an ex­ec­u­tive or­der that would also ban U.S. com­pa­nies from do­ing so.

Brudzin­ski said Poland wanted to con­tinue co­op­er­at­ing with China but that a dis­cus­sion was needed on whether to ex­clude Huawei from some mar­kets.

“There are con­cerns about Huawei within NATO as well. It would make most sense to have a joint stance, among EU mem­ber states and NATO mem­bers,” he told pri­vate broad­caster RMF FM.

“We want re­la­tions with China that are good, in­ten­sive and at­trac­tive for both sides,” he added.

Seek­ing to dis­tance it­self from the in­ci­dent, Huawei said in a state­ment it had sacked Wang Wei­jing, whose “al­leged ac­tions have no re­la­tion to the com­pany.”

“In ac­cor­dance with the terms and con­di­tions of Huawei’s la­bor con­tract, we have made this de­ci­sion be­cause the in­ci­dent has brought Huawei into dis­re­pute,” the state­ment said.

“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,” the com­pany’s state­ment added.

A Huawei spokesman, Joe Kelly, de­clined to give any fur­ther de­tails.

A spokesman for the Pol­ish se­cu­rity ser­vices had told Reuters the al­le­ga­tions re­lated to in­di­vid­ual ac­tions, and were not linked di­rectly to Huawei Tech­nolo­gies Cos Ltd.

A deputy dig­i­tal af­fairs min­is­ter in Poland said, how­ever, that War­saw was an­a­lyz­ing any in­volve­ment by Huawei in build­ing the coun­try’s 5G telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions in­fra­struc­ture, por­tal re­ported.

Any de­ci­sion by Western gov­ern­ments over whether to ex­clude Huawei from their mar­kets would have to con­sider the pos­si­ble im­pact on the speed and cost of 5G de­vel­op­ment, an­a­lysts say.

“My best-case out­come is that Europe uses this win­dow of op­por­tu­nity and fig­ures out how to have a min­i­mal risk for the best net­work pos­si­ble,” said Jan-Peter Klein­hans, an IT se­cu­rity ex­pert at Stiftung Neue Ver­ant­wor­tung, a Ber­lin-based think-tank.

A LinkedIn pro­file for Wang showed he has worked for Huawei’s Pol­ish divi­sion since 2011 and pre­vi­ously served as at­tache to the Chi­nese Gen­eral Con­sul in Gdansk from 2006-2011. Wang did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment via the so­cial me­dia site.

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