Polish authorities detained and charged the local sales director of Huawei Technologies Co., a Chinese national, for conducting high-level espionage on behalf of China, amid widening global scrutiny by Washington and its allies of the technology giant.
The arrest is another bombshell for Huawei, following the early December detention of the company’s chief financial officer in Canada, at the U.S.’s request, on charges related to Iranian sanctions. Unlike those allegations, the nature of the charges in Poland speak directly to suspicions by Washington and other Western governments that Huawei could be used by Beijing as a global spying tool.
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For years, Washington has labeled Huawei a national security threat, saying it could be forced by China to use its knowledge of the telecommunications equipment it sells around the world to tap into, or disable, foreign communications networks. Huawei has denied that forcefully through the years. Part of its defense has been that it hadn’t been implicated in overseas spying allegations.
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Officers of Poland’s counterintelligence agency this week searched the local Huawei office, leaving with documents and electronic data, as well as the home of the Chinese national, Poland’s state-owned broadcaster reported Friday. The individual wasn’t named, but was identified as a graduate of one of China’s top intelligence schools, as well as a former employee of the Chinese consulate in the port city of Gdansk.
An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.
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