Poland Arrests Huawei Employee on Spy Charges

January 11, 2019, 12:15 PM UTC

The Polish authorities have arrested a Chinese Huawei employee over espionage allegations. They also arrested a Polish employee of the local subsidiary of European communications giant Orange.

According to Polish media, the Chinese suspect, named as “Weijing W.”, is a sales director for Huawei’s Polish branch. The Orange employee, “Piotr D.”, reportedly had access to a government network used for confidential communications, and was a former agent with Poland’s Internal Security Agency, the ABW.

Poland’s TVP Info reported that ABW agents searched both Orange and Huawei’s offices on Tuesday, having received court approval last week.

“On Tuesday, the ABW officials conducted actions, as a result of which, we handed over belongings of one of our employees,” Orange Polska told Fortune in an emailed statement. “We have no knowledge if there is any relation of these actions to his professional duties. We are at [ABW’s] disposal and we are ready to provide any information that they request.”

Huawei had not responded to a request for comment at the time of writing.

The arrests come at a fraught time for the world’s biggest telecommunications equipment manufacturer. Ever more countries are blocking Huawei’s involvement in their imminent “5G” mobile network deployments — Norway may reportedly soon join the list — and last month’s Canadian arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou ratcheted up Sino-American tensions.