WARWAS, Jan 11(AFP): Poland said Friday it had arrested a Chinese telecoms executive suspected of spying for China, with local media identifying him as a Huawei director.
The Chinese foreign ministry told AFP it was “highly concerned” by the arrest of its citizen.
Huawei said in a brief statement that the company was “aware of the situation” and “looking into it” but had no further comment for now.
The Polish announcement comes weeks after Canada arrested Huawei vice president Meng Wanzhou, who is accused of violating Iran sanctions.
The Chinese telecommunications giant — who was founded by a former engineer for China’s army — is also facing increased scrutiny over its alleged links to Chinese intelligence services.
Countries like the United States, Australia and Japan have blocked Huawei from building their next-generation, super-fast 5G internet networks.
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.
A Polish man was also arrested for alleged espionage along with the Chinese citizen “who is a businessman working for an important telecommunications firm,” said Maciej Wasik, deputy head of Poland’s special services, quoted by the PAP news agency.
He added that the investigation “had been going on for a while, and had been handled with great care.”
The two men were arrested on Tuesday and are suspected of having “worked for Chinese services and to the detriment of Poland,” said Polish special services spokesman Stanislaw Zaryn.
According to local media, the Chinese businessman is believed to be one of the directors of the Polish branch of Huawei.
Zaryn identified the Chinese businessman as Weijing W and the Polish suspect as Piotr D.
He added that their apartments and workplaces were searched.
Polish media outlets said the Polish suspect is thought to be a former agent for Poland’s ABW counter-intelligence service who is now working as a cyber-security consultant for the Polish branch of French mobile phone provider Orange.
Orange Polska spokesman Wojciech Jabczynski said “ABW officials had carried out items belonging to one of our employees on Tuesday.”
“We have no information as to whether this is at all related to his work duties,” Jabczynski told AFP.
Huawei has signed several agreements with wireless operators in Europe amid its progress in the 5G market.