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Huawei: Searches and arrests of counterintelligence in Poland

14 January 2019
Huawei: Searches and arrests of counterintelligence in Poland

"The materials collected by the Internal Security Agency show that both men conducted espionage activities against Poland", Stanislaw Zaryn, a spokesman for Poland's secret services chief, said in a statement. Those included the Interior Ministry, the Office of Electronic Communications, a regulatory body that oversees cyber and other telecommunications issues, and the International Security Agency, Poland's counterespionage agency. Former 5G industry lobbyist and political candidate Scott Bradley would continue to assist the company as a consultant, Huawei Canada said.

Security services have also searched the Polish offices of Huawei and telecoms firm Orange, according to state public TV channel TVP. Some experts also see a risk that Chinese intelligence may develop an ability to subvert Huawei's equipment. They will remain in custody for three months.

Huawei complies with "all applicable laws" in countries where it operates and requires employees to obey them too, said the company statement.

"Huawei is aware of the situation, and we are looking into it", a spokesman for Huawei told multiple news organisations this morning.

The Chinese national is a former employee of the country's consulate in the Baltic Sea port of Gdansk, according to TVPInfo television.

Huawei's chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, who is also the daughter of the company's founder, was detained in Canada last month on a USA extradition bid.

The Chinese telecoms giant is facing increasing scrutiny from the worldwide community amid fears authorities in China could use the company's technology for spying. He reportedly became the sales director of Huawei in Poland sometime in 2017 with an emphasis on sales "in the public sector".

He is a graduate of the Beijing University of Foreign Studies.

Orange Polska worked with Huawei past year on introducing the latest fifth-generation, or 5G, wireless network in the country of 38 million.

HEIGHTENED SCRUTINY Huawei has come under intense scrutiny in recent months as countries including Australia, New Zealand and Japan have followed US moves against the company, citing security concerns.

Huawei recently surpassed Apple to become the world's second-biggest smartphone maker behind only Samsung. A spokesperson for Orange Polska told NPR that the company was cooperating with authorities.

Huawei has faced increasing scrutiny over its alleged links to Chinese intelligence services, prompting not just the U.S. but also Australia and Japan to block it from building their 5G internet networks.

The Polish announcement comes weeks after Canada arrested Huawei vice president Meng Wanzhou, who is accused of violating Iran sanctions. She has been released on bail, but faces a lengthy legal fight over extradition to the US.

Wang's arrest plays into Western governments' fears that Huawei could be spying on behalf of China.

On Dec. 10, China detained former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and Canadian entrepreneur Michael Spavor on vague national security allegations in apparent retaliation for Meng's arrest.