Poland arrests Huawei employee on spying charges

Saturday, 12 Jan, 2019

In addition, TVP Info says, Internal Security Agency officers searched Huawei's headquarters in Poland, along with an Orange office where Piotr D. worked.

Huawei had a presence at CES, but one of its employees was arrested in Poland while the show was going on.

Counter intelligence services in Poland have arrested the sales director of Huawei on charges of spying while the local offices of the Chinese company were raided and searched, according to reports in the Polish media.

The Chinese government said it was "highly concerned" over reports of the arrest of a Chinese businessman for alleged espionage. Further indictments are expected, he said.

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

Federal Bureau of Investigation director Chris Wray said in February that they were concerned about allowing a company "that is beholden to foreign governments that don't share our values to gain positions of power inside our telecommunications networks".

Zaryn identified the Chinese businessman as Weijing W and the Polish suspect as Piotr D.

A conviction could come with a 10-year prison sentence.

New Zealand, Australia and the United States have all barred the company from involvement in their national 5G networks.

Polish state television TVP reported that the men have proclaimed their innocence, but Zaryn said he could not confirm that.

He said "both carried out espionage activities against Poland", but did not identify them. One of them is reportedly a sales director for Huawei. The company said it abides by applicable laws wherever it operates and expects employees to do the same.

It's the latest high-profile criminal case for Huawei, coming after Canada's arrest of its chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, who is also the daughter of the telecom equipment company's founder.

Orange told the AP it did not know if the suspicions against its employee were related to his professional duties and that it was working with the country's security agency.

People passing by a vehicle park sign of the Chinese tech giant Huawei in Warsaw, Poland, on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019.

A spokeswoman at the Chinese Embassy told The Associated Press that embassy representatives have met with officials at Poland's Foreign Ministry and that China urges Poland "to inform China about the situation of this case and arrange a consular visit as soon as possible". USA prosecutors have accused her of misleading banks about transactions linked to Iran, putting the banks at risk of violating US sanctions. The US has accused Huawei of potentially building "back doors" into its communications equipment to allow penetration by Chinese intelligence, in a similar manner as Kaspersky allegedly did with its anti-virus software on behalf of Russian intelligence.