Huawei fires employee arrested for espionage in Poland

Jan. 12 (UPI) — Smartphone giant Huawei Technologies fired a Chinese citizen charged with espionage in Poland, the company announced Saturday.

The Shenzhen, China-based company said the allegations against the unnamed employee are separate from Huawei.

“His alleged actions have no relation to the company,” the company said in a statement. “The incident in question has brought Huawei into disrepute.”

On Friday, Polish counterintelligence officers from the Internal Security Agency arrested the man, who was a sales director in Huawei’s Polish office. Officials said the person charged is a graduate of one of China’s top intelligence schools and a former employee of Beijing’s consulate in Gdansk.

The suspect and a former Polish official were both charged with espionage against the republic, to which they have both pleaded not guilty. The Polish suspect was the former deputy head of Warsaw’s counterintelligence’s IT security department.

The arrests come as Western countries, including the United States, increase surveillance of Huawei, which recently surpassed Apple as the world’s second-largest smartphone manufacturer.

Friday’s was the second high-profile arrest of a Huawei official in the past two months. Canadian officials detained Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer, in December at the request of the United States. She was accused of trying to get around Iranian trade sanctions.

U.S. politicians have expressed concern over the growth of Huawei because of the company’s potential to spy for Beijing through its electronics, disable communications or conduct another kind of cyberattack.

Huawei said it is employee-owned and has never conducted espionage or sabotage on behalf of China’s government. The telecom giant said doing so would damage its trust as a global telecommunications leader.

Clyde Hughes contributed to this report.

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