Huawei sacks employee Meng Wanzhou arrested in Poland for spying

Polish state television TVP said security services had searched the local offices of Huawei, as well as the offices of telecoms firm Orange Polska, where it said the Polish national works. The two men arrested would be held for three months, local media said.

Orange Polska said in a statement Polish security agencies had on Tuesday gathered materials related to an unidentified employee but did not know if the investigation was linked to the employee’s professional work. Reuters quoted a Polish security services spokesman saying the allegations related to individual actions, and were not linked directly to Huawei.

China opposes ‘defamation’

China’s foreign ministry initially said it was “greatly concerned” by the reports of the arrests on Friday.

The Chinese Embassy in Poland urged Warsaw to handle the case “legally, fairly and properly” and to protect the legal rights of the Chinese citizen involved.

“The Chinese side strongly opposes any groundless defamation and fabrication in absence of concrete facts. We will follow this case closely and take all measures to resolutely protect the legal and legitimate rights of Chinese citizens,” the embassy said in a statement.

Australia was one of the first western nations to block Huawei from providing equipment to new 5G mobile phone networks and the National Broadband Network due to national security concerns. Security experts have warned Chinese authorities would have so-called backdoors into private communications.

Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, was arrested in Canada at the request of the United States on December 1 on charges of allegedly breaching US sanctions against Iran. While later released on bail, the arrest of the high-profile executive threatened to derail a trade truce between the two powers.

Huawei’s 5G ban

China has retaliated with the detention of two prominent Canadian citizens, International Crisis Group analyst Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor. Canadian media have said up to 13 Canadians have been detained since Ms Meng’s release although some of those have since been released.

So far, Australia has avoided being caught up in the incident but authorities are watching the situation closely. Australia was one of the first western countries to ban Huawei from supplying equipment for its 5G telecommunications networks.

Huawei is the third largest supplier of mobile phones in Australia and a key supplier to Optus, Vodafone and TPG for their 4G equipment.

The Five Eyes intelligence network of the US, Australia, Canada, Britain and New Zealand have warned against the risks of using Chinese equipment for 5G networks. Huawei’s Australian chairman John Lord told The Australian Financial Review in an interview last month that there were ‘”some really stupid statements” being made about the company in Canberra, and it had never been found guilty of any wrongdoing.

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