Poland arrests Chinese businessman and Pole on espionage allegations

Lamar Ellis
January 12, 2019

Both of them will remain in custody for the next three months and could face up to 10 years in prison. However, the person is said to be a former high-ranking official at Poland's internal security agency.

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 to urge them to arrange a consular visit "as soon as possible". Approved in 2017, the law states that Chinese "organizations and citizens shall, in accordance with the law, support, cooperate with, and collaborate in national intelligence work". "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.

Polish media identified Piotr D as a former agent for Poland's ABW counter-intelligence service and current cybersecurity consultant for the Polish branch of French mobile phone provider Orange.

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 USA trade sanctions, raising tensions with China at a time when Washington and Beijing are engaged in a broader trade war.

The country's security services searched the offices of Huawei as well as Orange Polska, public television said. Local media identified the Chinese man as a Huawei director.

The Polish spy agency and Poland's state television, which is closely tied to the Polish government, reported the arrests and the searches at both Huawei and Orange.

Orange Polska worked with Huawei previous year on introducing the latest fifth-generation, or 5G, wireless network in the country of 38 million.

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TVPInfo named the two accused as Weijing W. and Piotr D., in line with Polish law which prohibits the publications of full names of those detained.

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.

Huawei told the BBC it had no immediate comment.

Some European countries have followed the USA and began looking into whether using Huawei's technology could expose the country to China. "We have no comment for the time being".

Orange told the AP it did not know if the suspicions against its employee were related to his professional duties and that it was working with the country's security agency.

In a speech last month, Alex Younger, ... US prosecutors have accused her of misleading banks about transactions linked to Iran, putting the banks at risk of violating USA sanctions. Meng was released on bail four weeks ago and is living under restrictions in her million-dollar Vancouver home.

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