Poland charges Huawei worker, 1 other with spy­ing for China

Belleville News-Democrat - - Business - BY ADAM SATARIANO AND JOANNA BERENDT New York Times

Pol­ish au­thor­i­ties ar­rested two peo­ple, in­clud­ing a Chi­nese em­ployee of the telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions gi­ant Huawei, and charged them with spy­ing for Bei­jing, of­fi­cials said Fri­day, as the United States and its al­lies move to re­strict the use of Chi­nese tech­nol­ogy be­cause of con­cerns that it is be­ing used for es­pi­onage.

The ar­rest of the Huawei em­ployee is al­most cer­tain to es­ca­late ten­sions be­tween Western coun­tries and China over the com­pany, which au­thor­i­ties in the United States have ac­cused of act­ing as an arm of the Chi­nese govern­ment and mak­ing equip­ment de­signed for spy­ing.

In De­cem­ber, the daugh­ter of Huawei’s founder was ar­rested in Canada at the re­quest of the United States, which said she had com­mit­ted fraud as part of a scheme to vi­o­late U.S. sanc­tions against com­pa­nies do­ing busi­ness with Iran. It was un­clear whether the ar­rests in Poland had been re­quested by the United States. But a se­nior Western diplo­mat who was briefed on them said the Jus­tice De­part­ment had been work­ing with the Pol­ish govern­ment.

Europe is in­creas­ingly a bat­tle­ground in the fight over Huawei. The com­pany’s sales in the re­gion have been grow­ing, but many coun­tries there now face pres­sure to re­con­sider its pres­ence, par­tic­u­larly as con­struc­tion be­gins for the next-gen­er­a­tion wireless net­works known as 5G. Ger­many, Bri­tain, the Czech Repub­lic and Nor­way are among the na­tions that have re­cently ques­tioned how deeply Huawei should be in­volved in de­vel­op­ing 5G in­fra­struc­ture.

Many of the coun­tries adopt­ing this stance are al­lies of the United States. Poland, specif­i­cally, is re­garded by the State De­part­ment as “one of the United States’ strong­est part­ners” in con­ti­nen­tal Europe. And An­drus An­sip, the Eu­ro­pean Union’s vice pres­i­dent, said last month that coun­tries in the re­gion should be “wor­ried” about Huawei and other Chi­nese com­pa­nies be­cause of the cybersecurity risks they pose.

Huawei has long de­nied spy­ing for the Chi­nese govern­ment. On Fri­day, a Huawei spokesman said the com­pany had no com­ment on the ar­rest of its em­ployee in Poland and in­sisted that it “com­plies with all ap­pli­ca­ble laws and regulations in the coun­tries where it op­er­ates.” The se­cond per­son ar­rested is an em­ployee of the French telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pany Orange, which con­firmed that its of­fice had been raided and that the man’s be­long­ings had been seized.

“We are ready to co­op­er­ate with the In­ter­nal Se­cu­rity Agency and make any in­for­ma­tion it needs avail­able,” the Orange spokesman, Wo­j­ciech Jabczyn­ski, said.

Hu Xi­jin, the ed­i­tor-inchief of Global Times, a state-run, na­tion­al­ist news­pa­per in China, took a swipe at Poland on Twit­ter on Fri­day, writ­ing, “Any­thing in Poland that is wor­thy of steal­ing for Huawei? Pol­ish na­tional se­cu­rity de­part­ment flat­ters it­self.”

In an­other mes­sage, he said he had met up with a friend who works at Huawei.

“He said Huawei is facing great dif­fi­cul­ties com­mu­ni­cat­ing with Western pub­lic opin­ion,” Hu wrote. “I said Huawei has been try­ing to dis­tance it­self from pol­i­tics, but it has grown too big that pol­i­tics is com­ing to its door. Huawei is in­no­cent.”

The Huawei em­ployee ar­rested in Poland was iden­ti­fied by the au­thor­i­ties only as Wei­jing W. He was in­volved in the com­pany’s sales op­er­a­tions in the coun­try, of­fi­cials said.

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