Poland arrests two over spying for China, including Huawei employee

Poland arrests Chinese Huawei exec, Pole on spying charges

Earlier, Poland's state television reported that one of the directors of the Polish division of China's telecom giant Huawei, as well as a former high-ranking employee of the Polish Internal Security Agency (ABW), were arrested on suspicion of spying for China.

TV channel TVP said the two individuals were arrested on Tuesday after the Huawei and Orange Polska offices were searched.

U.S. intelligence agencies allege that Huawei is linked to China's government and that "backdoors" built into its technology could be exploited by government spy agencies.

TVP said the men have not pleaded guilty and are refusing to give testimony in the case. If convicted, the pair could face up to 10 years imprisonment.

The development comes as a USA dispute with China over a ban on Huawei is spilling over to Europe, the company's biggest foreign market, where some countries are also starting to shun its network systems over data security concerns. The man, who went by the Polish first name Stanislaw, also worked at the Chinese consulate in the past.

New Zealand, Australia and the U.S. have barred Huawei from involvement in their next-generation 5G mobile networks.

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Huawei told the BBC it had no immediate comment.

Huawei, in turn, said in a statement that it is "aware of the situation" and that it has "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".

The government has evidence that the two suspects "cooperated with the Chinese services" as they conducted espionage against Poland, according to Stanisław Żaryn, spokesman for the special services branch, in a tweet about the case. 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.

Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei and the daughter of founder Ren Zhengfei, was arrested in Canada last month at the request of the US government. USA prosecutors have accused her of misleading banks about transactions linked to Iran, putting the banks at risk of violating US sanctions. She is out on bail in Canada awaiting extradition proceedings.

Huawei has found itself in the centre of a trade war between the United States and China.

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