Poland has arrested a Chinese employee of Huawei and a former Polish security official on spying allegations, officials said on Friday, a move that could fuel Western security concerns about the telecoms equipment maker.
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However, a spokesman for the Polish security services told Reuters the allegations related to individual actions, and were not linked directly to Huawei Technologies Cos Ltd.
Huawei, the world’s biggest producer of telecoms equipment, faces intense scrutiny in the West over its relationship with the Chinese government and US-led allegations that its equipment could be used by Beijing for spying.
No evidence has been produced publicly and the firm has repeatedly denied the claims, but the allegations have led several Western countries to restrict Huawei’s access to their markets.
Stanislaw Zaryn, a spokesman for the Polish security services, said the country’s Internal Security Agency (ISA) detained a Chinese citizen and a former Polish security official on Jan. 8 over spying allegations. The two men have heard charges and will be held for three months, he said.
"This matter has to do with his actions, it doesn’t have anything to do with the company he works for," Mr Zaryn said of the Chinese man.
A LinkedIn profile for Mr Wang showed he has worked for Huawei’s Polish division since 2011 and previously served as attache to the Chinese General Consul in Gdansk from 2006-2011. Mr Wang did not immediately respond to a request for comment via the social media site.
China’s foreign ministry said it was "greatly concerned" by the reports, and urged Poland to handle the case "justly."
Polish public TV channel TVP said security services had also searched the local offices of Huawei; the offices of telecoms firm Orange Polska , where it said the Polish national works; and Poland’s Office of Electronic Communications, the country’s telecoms regulator.
Huawei said in a statement it was aware of the situation but had no immediate comment.
"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," it added.
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Orange Polska said in a statement the security agency had on Tuesday gathered materials related to an employee, whom it did not identify. 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.
Huawei has come under intense scrutiny in recent months as countries including Australia, New Zealand and Japan have followed US moves against the company, citing security concerns.
Canadian authorities in December also arrested Huawei finance chief Meng Wanzhou at the behest of US authorities as part of an investigation into alleged violations of S trade sanctions.
The West’s security concerns surrounding Huawei, and fellow Chinese telecoms equipment firm ZTE Corp , centre around China’s National Intelligence Law. Approved in 2017, the law states that Chinese "organisations and citizens shall, in accordance with the law, support, cooperate with, and collaborate in national intelligence work."
This has sparked fears Huawei could be asked by the Chinese government to incorporate "backdoors" into their equipment that would allow Beijing access, for spying or sabotage purposes.
Norway said on Wednesday it was considering whether to join other Western nations in excluding Huawei from building part of the country’s new 5G telecoms network.