Chinese telecom giant Huawei facing legal action for espionage in Poland

Even as European nations ponder shutting Huawei out of 5G network rollouts over concerns about data security, the trial of an ex-Huawei employee and a former Polish secret services agent accused of spying for China has opened in Warsaw.

Huawei
Huawei

According to Polish prosecutors, former Huawei executive Wang Weijing, 39, spent over seven years spying for China, to strengthen his company’s influence with the Polish government and “enable it to… manage the state… technology infrastructure”, Reuters reported.

Wang has also been charged with recruiting Piotr D., a former Polish secret service agent, to gather intelligence on influencing the country’s rescue and public safety services radio networks.

Prosecutors have accused Piotr D., a cybersecurity specialist, of leaking information about a monitoring system that keeps intruders from breaching fibre optic communications networks created by the Warsaw military university and accessing classified information.

Both men have denied the charges. Wang’s lawyer, Bartlomiej Jankowski, said there is no evidence of espionage against his client.

Huawei, which fired Wang after his arrest in January 2019 but helped pay his legal fees, has repeatedly denied its communications equipment can be used by China for espionage.

However, the case has stoked a raging international debate on the subject.

While the US has been pushing for a ban on equipment from Huawei and other Chinese vendors, so far, Britain and Sweden are the only European nations to have done so.

In Poland, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has tabled draft legislation on the de facto exclusion of Huawei from building 5G networks, but the country’s parliament is yet to discuss it.

Huawei has argued that such an exclusion would entail an almost $12 billion loss for the Polish economy and set back the rollout of 5G services by some years.