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Theodore Smith
Theodore Smith

Huawei Employee Arrested In Poland On Spying Allegations

Huawei seems undeterred by the recent arrest of two of its Polish executives over spying allegations. Huawei is the market leader in the country (with a 33.4% share in 2018), in large part thanks to the strong sales of the P20 and Mate 20 phones. The local division also sells tablets, laptops and accessories.

Huawei employee arrested in Poland on spying allegations

A former Huawei tech giant director has again been arrested by the Polish Internal Security Agency on charges of spying for China, PAP has been told by a spokesman for the minister-coordinator of special services.

The trial of Wang and a Pole arrested during the same investigation has been ongoing since June. The arrested Pole, Piotr D. (last name withheld in accordance with Polish law) is a former employee of the Internal Security Agency (ABW). Both suspects face up to 15 years in prison. The trial is being held behind closed doors.

Polish authorities arrested a sales director of Huawei Technologies Co. and charged him with conducting espionage on behalf of China, raising the stakes over Western allegations the global company is a spying tool for Beijing.

Poland has arrested a Chinese manager at tech giant Huawei in Poland and one of its own former counter-espionage officers and charged them with spying on Poland for China, state television and officials reported Friday.

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.

Schellenberg's death sentence comes just after Poland arrested a Huawei executive on Jan. 8 on charges of spying for China. NPR's Bill Chappell reports the tech giant's sales director in Poland, along with a Polish citizen, were detained by authorities. The Wall Street Journal reports that Poland has charged its citizen, Piotr Durbajlo, with spying for China while he worked in government. Huawei fired its employee, Wang Weijing, over the weekend and claims his actions are not connected to the company.

Huawei doesn't want further whiffs of suspicion around its motivations, even in cases where it's not directly implicated. The Chinese tech giant has fired Weijing Wang, an employee arrested in Poland over spying allegations despite security officials saying the espionage wasn't directly tied to Huawei. The staffer brought the company into "disrepute," according to a statement. Police also arrested a Polish citizen in connection to the case.

The U.S. government and many of its allies have accused Huawei of being a conduit for Chinese industrial spying and of circumventing U.S.-led sanctions on Iran. Canada and Poland have both arrested Huawei staff over related charges.

This as more European countries follow the US and turn away from the world's biggest telecommunications equipment-maker, as scrutiny grows over its close ties with the Chinese government and allegations its equipment could hold backdoors to enable spying, which Huawei denies.

Countries that have taken U.S. warnings more seriously include the Czech Republic, Poland, Belgium and Nordic countries. With relatively less reliance on China, these countries can afford to take a harder stance on Huawei. In December, the Czech National Cyber and Information Security Agency (NCISA) issued two warnings against using Huawei and ZTE equipment, ahead of 5G auctions planned for this year. Huawei faced another setback in January, when a Chinese employee was arrested in Poland on spying charges. Poland relies heavily on NATO and its security alliance with the U.S. and is ready to sacrifice Huawei to convince the U.S. to expand its military presence in the country. This is a blow to Huawei, which has its headquarters for Central and Eastern Europe and the Nordic region in Poland. Despite the recent launch of the Huawei 'Cyber Security Transparency Centre' in Brussels (to test the company's equipment), the Belgian government continues to consider the possibility of a blanket ban. Authorities in Norway and Sweden have also said they would investigate whether Huawei should be allowed to build 5G infrastructure, as the stand-off between China and the U.S. continues.


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