Poland arrests Chinese businessman and Pole on espionage allegations

Leroy Wright
January 11, 2019

Poland's Internal Security Agency has charged a Chinese manager at tech giant Huawei in Poland and one of its own former officers with espionage against Poland on behalf of China, Polish state television reported on Friday.

A Huawei spokesman has said the company is aware of the arrest, but has made no further comment. Polish security agents searched both the offices of Huawei and Orange, seizing documents and electronic data.

The arrests mark escalating concerns among western governments about the Chinese company's activities. According to Reuters, the police had also raided the officers of Orange Polska, where the Polish national works.

TVP said the men have not pleaded guilty and are refusing to give testimony in the case.

"The Chinese national is a businessman working for a major electronics company ... the Pole is a person known in circles associated with cyber business", Maciej Wasik, the deputy head of Poland's special services, told PAP. If convicted, the men could face up to 10 years in prison.

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"We have no comment for the time being. Huawei 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".

Ties between the United States and China have become increasingly strained since Canadian authorities arrested a Huawei executive, Meng Wanzhou, in December at the request of USA authorities. She was granted bail but remains in Vancouver under 24-hour surveillance. Poland's TVPInfo broke the news earlier today (via Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal) amid increasing tensions between the US and China.

The Chinese national was a sales director, though the Polish national's role is unclear. They will remain in custody for three months.

The allegations were that Huawei was using its kit to spy on other governments - claims the firm has strenuously and repeatedly denied.

While the MateBook 13 was certainly Huawei's biggest focus at CES 2019, it wasn't the only announcement from the company.

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