'Chinese, Polish nationals' arrested in Poland for 'spying'

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Huawei has repeatedly been accused of being a proxy for the Chinese government, a claim it denies

Polish security services have arrested a Chinese national and Polish man for spying, according to local media.

The Chinese national is a sales director at Chinese telecoms firm Huawei’s Polish branch, according to public TV channel TVP.

Huawei told the BBC it had no immediate comment.

The tech company has been a focal point of international scrutiny, with several countries raising security concerns about its products.

The two individuals were arrested on Tuesday.

TVP reports that the Polish national, “Piotr D” was a former high-ranking member of Poland’s internal security agency (ABW), who now works in the telecoms industry.

The news outlet says “Piotr D” left the ABW following allegations of corruption, but was never formally charged.

On Thursday, a Warsaw court agreed to prosecutors’ requests to arrest the men for three months. If found guilty of spying, they face up to 10 years in prison.

TVP reported that Huawei’s office in Poland had been searched by the ABW, along with the offices of mobile provider Orange Polska where the Polish national reportedly worked.

In a statement, Huawei said it “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.”

Orange said in a statement that the Polish security services had gathered material related to an employee, but it did not know if the investigation was linked to the employee’s professional work.

Stanislaw Zaryn, a spokesperson for Poland’s security services, told the BBC that both men’s homes had also been searched during the investigation.

Last year, Orange Polska worked with Huawei to roll out next-generation 5G mobile networks in Poland.

New Zealand, Australia and the US have barred Huawei from involvement in their national 5G networks.

It’s alleged that China may use the company as a proxy to spy on rival nations.

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

The firm’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, was arrested in Canada in December over allegations of breaking of US sanctions on Iran.

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