European Union seeks information as Chinese espionage scandal hits Poland

Two Huawei employees had been arrested in Poland over allegations of spying for the Chinese government.

In December, Canadian authorities arrested a top Huawei executive, Meng Wanzhou, at the behest of US authorities as part of an investigation into alleged violations of USA trade sanctions.

The TVP also said Polish security forces searched Huawei's Poland office Friday.

In a coordinated arrest, police also detained a Polish citizen named Piotr D. - a former Internal Security Agency official who now works for the telecom Orange Polska, according to Poland's TVP Info, which first reported the story. Reports identified the Huawei employee as Weijing Wang and the Polish man as Piotr D. Each person could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted, the AP wrote.

"Huawei is aware of the situation, and we are looking into it", a spokesman for the company told reporters.

"Both men carried out espionage activities against Poland".

Huawei's relations with British authorities hit a low last month when a top official walked out of a meeting with the Chinese company over its perceived failure to fix security holes in its products, sources familiar with the talks told Reuters.

Huawei didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Huawei has repeatedly denied claims of secret ties to the Chinese government.

Orange Polska said in a statement security services had on Tuesday gathered materials related to an employee, whom it did not identify. Orange Polska's spokesman Wojciech Jabczynski declined to comment on Huawei cooperation while confirming that the Warsaw-based company handed over an employee's belongings to the Polish authorities on Tuesday.

The West's security concerns surrounding Huawei, and fellow Chinese telecom equipment firm ZTE Corp, centre around China's National Intelligence Law. Chinese authorities then detained two Canadians - a former diplomat and a business consultant - on suspicion of endangering national security.

Federal Bureau of Investigation director Chris Wray said in February that they were concerned about allowing a company "that is beholden to foreign governments that don't share our values to gain positions of power inside our telecommunications networks".

An official at the Chinese Embassy in Warsaw said China attaches "great importance to the detention" of the Chinese citizen in Poland and that Chinese envoys had met with Polish Foreign Ministry officials on the matter and urged them to "arrange a consular visit as soon as possible". Some experts also see a risk that Chinese intelligence may develop an ability to subvert Huawei's equipment.

Australia and New Zealand have also enacted similar bans, leaving Canada the only country in the "Five Eyes" intelligence network not to take steps against the Chinese firm.

Wara said that Norway shares "the same concerns as the United States and Britain" with regards to espionage projects contracted on "private and state actors in Norway".

  • Jon Douglas