Poland arrests Chinese Huawei exec, Pole on spying charges

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Poland has arrested a Chinese employee of Huawei and a Polish national involved in cyber business on allegations of spying, Polish media reported on Friday, deepening the controversy over Western criticism of the Chinese telecoms equipment maker.

In addition, TVP Info says, Internal Security Agency officers searched Huawei's headquarters in Poland, along with an Orange office where Piotr D. worked.

"The Chinese individual is a businessman working for an important telecommunications firm", Maciej Wasik, deputy head of Poland's special services, said.

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.

TVP said the men have not pleaded guilty and are refusing to give testimony in the case. If convicted, they could face up to 10 years in prison each.

Some European countries have followed the USA and began looking into whether using Huawei's technology could expose the country to China. According to Reuters, the police had also raided the officers of Orange Polska, where the Polish national works.

Two Huawei employees have been arrested in Poland for allegedly spying on the Chinese government's behalf. Huawei and Orange could not immediately be reached for comment.

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Nonetheless, intelligence bods recommended banning the use of the kit, and official blocks are in place for state-funded projects in the US, Australia and New Zealand.

"We are aware of the situation, and we are looking into it". 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.

"We have no comment for the time being".

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".

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

Huawei has found itself in the centre of a trade war between the United States and China.

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