Polish authorities arrested two individuals and accused them of spying on behalf of the Chinese government, Polish TVP TVP (via the BBC) reported. One is a Chinese who is leading Huawei's sales in the country, according to The New York Timesthe other is a Polish national and an employee of the telecommunications provider Orange Polska. The network recently worked with Huawei to build its next generation 5G network.
The arrests took place while Huawei's hardware could be used to spy on the Chinese government when it was used to build a country's communications infrastructure. The United States would have considered explicitly banning the use of the company's equipment on these networks, and they have also pressured their allies to do the same.
China's intelligence law has concerned national governments
Several allies have already done so. In the United Kingdom, the telecommunications provider BT has a policy of not using Huawei equipment in the heart of its network since 2006. Other European governments, as well as New Zealand and Australia , have also considered or prohibited the use of this equipment. On Wednesday, Norway announced plans to exclude Huawei from the country's 5G infrastructure.
The national intelligence law, promulgated in 2017 in China, is at the origin of the concerns. It states that Chinese organizations and citizens must "support, cooperate and collaborate in the work of national intelligence". Huawei's close ties with the Chinese government has also been examined, although the company has always maintained its independent functioning.
The New York Times reports that the Polish government has identified Huawei's employee as Weijing W, and that Polish television said he was working for the Chinese consulate in Gdansk, Poland, before joining Huawei in 2011. Meanwhile, the Polish national has been identified as Piotr D. was employed by the ABW, the internal security agency of Poland, before abandoning accusations of corruption. Deputy Chief of Polish Special Services Maciej Wasik said Piotr had access to information on the country's secure internal communication systems during his stay at the ABW.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said that he was "very concerned"
The Polish authorities have searched the homes of the two men, as well as the offices of Huawei, Orange and the Polish telecommunications regulator, according to TVP. If they are found guilty, both men face a prison sentence of up to 10 years.
In a statement, Huawei said that it "complies with all laws and regulations in force in the countries where it operates, and we ask each employee to comply with the laws and regulations in force in the countries where he is based, "said the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. was "very concerned" by the arrests. Orange Polska confirmed that her offices had been searched, but she could not say whether the investigation was related to the professional work of Piot D. On Saturday, The Guardian reported that Huawei returned Weijing.
Huawei's chief financial officer was arrested in Canada last year.Photo of Rich Lam / Getty Images
These are not the only individuals linked to Huawei who have been arrested by a foreign country in recent months. In early December, Huawei's chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, was arrested in Canada at the request of the US government. She is accused of committing fraud to circumvent United States sanctions against Iran. She was later released on bail.
Updated Saturday, January 12, 2019: Update with the termination of Weijing by Huawei.