Friday, 18 January, 2019

Huawei employee arrested in Poland over spying charges

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Melinda Barton | 11 January, 2019, 16:55

Huawei told the BBC it had no immediate comment.

Poland has arrested a Chinese businessman working for the Huawei technology company on suspicion of espionage, authorities in Warsaw said today.

Her arrest highlighted US accusations that Huawei broke sanctions against Iran, but the USA has also been pushing to try to curtail Huawei's influence, warning about the company's possible ties to Chinese intelligence and calling on countries to exclude the company as they build new 5G networks.

No evidence has publically been produced over Huawei using such equipment.

Of the latest reported arrest of its staff, Huawei said in a statement to Reuters that it was "aware of the situation, and we are looking into it".

The Polish announcement comes weeks after Canada arrested Huawei vice president Meng Wanzhou, who is accused of violating Iran sanctions.

However, the person is said to be a former high-ranking official at Poland's internal security agency. The company added it did not know if the investigation was linked to the employee's professional work, and that it would continue to cooperate with the authorities.

The company said it "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 Chinese government retaliated against the arrest by detaining Michael Kovrig, a former Canadian diplomat, about a month ago, claiming he's a national security risk.

The Polish suspect in the case, Piotr D., was an officer in the Internal Security Agency until 2011, according to TVP Info, which says he was an adviser to the head of the special service who also had expertise about the network Poland's government uses to share sensitive information. Approved in 2017, the law states that Chinese "organizations and citizens shall, in accordance with the law, support, cooperate with, and collaborate in national intelligence work".

"The Chinese individual is a businessman working for an important telecommunications firm", Maciej Wasik, deputy head of Poland's special services, said.