Huawei sales director nicked in Poland on suspicion of 'spying'

If found guilty they could face 10 years in jail.

An official says Poland's Internal Security Agency has arrested a Chinese businessman and a Pole on suspicion of espionage.

The Chinese government said it was "highly concerned" over reports of the arrest of a Chinese businessman for alleged espionage. Chinese authorities then detained two Canadians - a former diplomat and a business consultant - on suspicion of endangering national security. The company said it abides by applicable laws wherever it operates and expects employees to do the same.

According to media outlet TVP, the other was a Polish national who used to work at the country's internal security agency (Agencja Bezpieczeństwa Wewnętrznego, ABW) and more recently Orange.

The move is the latest setback for Huawei, which saw the arrest of the daughter of the firm's founder in Canada and USA efforts to blacklist the company internationally over security concerns.

Security services have also searched the Polish offices of Huawei and telecoms firm Orange, according to state public TV channel TVP.

In December, a Czech cyber-security agency warned against using the software and hardware of Huawei and fellow Chinese company ZTE, saying they posed a threat to state security.

USA intelligence agencies allege Huawei is linked to China's government and that its equipment could contain "backdoors" for use by government spies.

Countries like the United States, Australia and Japan have blocked Huawei from building their next-generation, super-fast 5G internet networks.

He said "both carried out espionage activities against Poland", but did not identify them.

National media reported that two people had been arrested, one of whom is reported to be a sales director at the Chinese hardware supplier.

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

Orange Poland told the AP on Friday it was cooperating with Polish security services in the case and had "handed over belongings of one of our employees" in Tuesday's search of its offices. "We have no comment for the time being".

Orange said in a statement that the Polish security services had gathered material related to an employee, but it did not know if the investigation was linked to the employee's professional work.

The Polish announcement comes weeks after Canada arrested Huawei vice-president Meng Wanzhou, who is accused of violating Iran sanctions. She was granted bail but remains in Vancouver under 24-hour surveillance.

Authorities also arrested a former Polish government official on similar charges. The company has been blocked in the US since 2012 over fears that its equipment is a security risk, and past year Australia, New Zealand and Japan instituted their own bans against using Huawei.

  • Rogelio Becker