Huawei employee arrested over alleged spying

Maciej Wasik

Maciej Wasik

It said that the pair had been charged under Polish laws relating to espionage and Polish state news agency PAP said that they would be detained for three months. However, the person is said to be a former high-ranking official at Poland's internal security agency.

China's foreign ministry said it was "greatly concerned" by the reports, and urged Poland to handle the case "justly".

Polish media identified Piotr D as a former agent for Poland's ABW counter-intelligence service and current cybersecurity consultant for the Polish branch of French mobile phone provider Orange.

In December, Canadian authorities arrested a top Huawei executive, Meng Wanzhou, at the behest of US authorities as part of an investigation into alleged violations of USA trade sanctions.

The Chinese suspect is an employee of Huawei, Poland's public television channel TVP said. 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.

The Polish spy agency and Poland's state television, which is closely tied to the Polish government, reported the arrests and the searches at both Huawei and Orange.

It's the latest setback for Huawei in Europe, where the company has ambitious plans to roll out next-generation "5G" mobile networks, which it is a leader in developing.

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

"Both men carried out espionage activities against Poland".

Even without concrete evidence, many countries around the world are banning Huawei from working on their national 5G grid, with many more considering the same move.

Huawei didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Norway's comments come at a time in the country is seeking to stamp out vulnerabilities in its telecoms networks.

"ABW (Internal Security Agency) officials conducted actions, as a result of which, we handed over belongings of one of our employees", Orange Polska said in a statement. The company has been blocked in the USA since 2012 over fears that its equipment is a security risk, and previous year Australia, New Zealand and Japan instituted their own bans against using Huawei. 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 United States wants Meng Wanzhou extradited to face charges that she misled banks about the company's business dealings in Iran. Meng was released on bail four weeks ago and is living under restrictions in her million-dollar Vancouver home.

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