Poland Arrests Huawei Employee on Spy Charges

Arturo Kim
January 12, 2019

A Huawei spokesperson told WSJ that the company is aware of the situation and is looking into it, adding that it requires employees to complies with the country's laws and regulations.

Huawei has faced scrutiny over alleged links to China's intelligence services.

"Europe is facing a challenge when it comes to dealing with Huawei and it shows that the continent doesn't have the ability to be autonomous", said Solange Ghernaouti, head of the Swiss Cybersecurity Advisory and Research Group.

Huawei's chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, was arrested December 1 in Canada in connection with U.S. accusations that the company violated restrictions on sales of American technology to Iran.

What do we know so far?

The two men were arrested on Tuesday, according to Polish state television TVP.

Authorities also arrested a former Polish government official on similar charges.

TVP, which is government-controlled media, identified the arrested Chinese man as Weijing W., saying he was a director in Poland at Huawei.

The Polish national, Piotr D., was a former high-ranking officer of the Internal Security Agency until 2011.

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"On January 8, they were detained, the Internal Security Agency carried out procedural acts, and searches were carried out in many places related to their activities", deputy minister of the special services coordinator Maciej Wąsik told Polsat News.

On Thursday, a Warsaw court agreed to prosecutors' requests to arrest the men for three months. The men could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

The FTC's argument that Qualcomm is allegedly harming competition, however, has frustrated some conservatives, who say not only does it appear the independent agency is favoring Chinese interests over American businesses, but the FTC's case goes against the ideas of free-market capitalism.

Police searched both of the suspects' homes as they arrested the pair on Tuesday.

Why are there concerns about Huawei? Approved in 2017, the law states that Chinese "organizations and citizens shall, in accordance with the law, support, cooperate with, and collaborate in national intelligence work".

Meng is the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei. Meng has maintained that Huawei has no connection or involvement.

As a result, critics argue China may be using Huawei as a proxy to help hack attacks, eavesdrop on conversations or gain high-level access to sensitive networks. Other countries have concerns too: It has been prevented from supplying next-generation 5G equipment to Australia and New Zealand.

Huawei's worldwide struggles have continued after one of its employees was arrested in Poland on the allegations of cyberespionage. The Chinese national was a sales director, though the Polish national's role is unclear.

The U.S. criticism has led to a number of Western countries and companies to review whether they should allow Huawei's equipment to be used in their telecoms networks.

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