Poland de­tains Huawei em­ployee ac­cused of spy­ing

Gulf Times Business - - FRONT PAGE -

Poland has ar­rested a Huawei Tech­nolo­gies Co em­ployee and a for­mer Pol­ish se­cu­rity agent and ac­cused them of spy­ing for China, pub­lic tele­vi­sion news chan­nel TVPInfo said yes­ter­day.

The Huawei em­ployee is a Chi­nese cit­i­zen re­spon­si­ble for sales to public­sec­tor clients in Poland, ac­cord­ing to TVPInfo.

The other de­tained per­son is a for­mer high-rank of­fi­cial at Poland’s in­ter­nal se­cu­rity agency who worked at mo­bile phone op­er­a­tor Orange Pol­ska SA, the broad­caster said. They will re­main in cus­tody for three months.

The Chi­nese tech­nol­ogy gi­ant is facing in­creas­ing pres­sure across the Eu­ro­pean Union amid grow­ing con­cerns that Bei­jing could use Huawei’s gear for spy­ing — some­thing the com­pany has al­ways de­nied. The US has been push­ing Eu­ro­pean gov­ern­ments to block Huawei from tele­com net­works amid a wider dis­pute over trade be­tween the world’s two big­gest economies.

“We must now ver­ify the ac­tiv­i­ties aimed against the coun­try and this case is far from closed,” Stanis­law Zaryn, spokesman for Poland’s se­cret ser­vices chief, told TVPInfo.

If con­victed, they face up to 10 years in jail, he said.

A Huawei rep­re­sen­ta­tive said the com­pany was look­ing into the mat­ter and de­clined to com­ment fur­ther. The com­pany said it abides by ap­pli­ca­ble laws wher­ever it op­er­ates and ex­pects em­ploy­ees to do the same.

China is highly con­cerned over the is- sue, the Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs’ press of­fice said in a faxed re­sponse to ques­tions. “We are ask­ing the re­lated coun­try to deal with the case fairly based on laws” and pro­tect the le­git­i­mate rights of the peo­ple, it said.

TVPInfo named the two ac­cused as Wei­jing W and Piotr D, in line with Pol­ish law which pro­hibits the pub­li­ca­tions of full names of those de­tained. The coun­try’s se­cu­rity ser­vices searched the of­fices of Huawei as well as Orange Pol­ska, pub­lic tele­vi­sion said.

Orange Pol­ska worked with Huawei last year on in­tro­duc­ing the lat­est fifth­gen­er­a­tion, or 5G, wireless net­work in the coun­try of 38mn. Its par­ent com­pany, France’s Orange SA, will no longer work with the Chi­nese com­pany in France, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Stephane Richard said on Tues­day.

It’s not clear if its Pol­ish unit has fol- lowed suit. Orange Pol­ska’s spokesman Wo­j­ciech Jabczyn­ski de­clined to com­ment on Huawei co-op­er­a­tion while con­firm­ing that the Warsaw-based com­pany handed over an em­ployee’s be­long­ings to the Pol­ish au­thor­i­ties on Tues­day.

Huawei has pre­vi­ously said it does not pose a se­cu­rity threat and that it’s never been asked by any govern­ment to build back­doors or in­ter­rupt any net­works. It has said it would “never tol­er­ate such be­hav­iour by any of our staff.”

The com­pany has also come un­der fire for al­le­ga­tions that Huawei’s chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer Meng Wanzhou con­spired to de­fraud banks to un­wit­tingly clear trans­ac­tions linked to Iran, in vi­o­la­tion of US Sanc­tions. Meng was re­leased on bail four weeks ago and is liv­ing un­der re­stric­tions in her mn-dol­lar Van­cou­ver home.

The logo of Huawei is seen in front of the lo­cal of­fices of the com­pany in Warsaw. The Chi­nese tech­nol­ogy gi­ant is facing in­creas­ing pres­sure across the Eu­ro­pean Union amid grow­ing con­cerns that Bei­jing could use Huawei’s gear for spy­ing — some­thing the com­pany has al­ways de­nied.

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