Poland’s Internal Security Agency has detained a high-ranking employee of Chinese tech giant Huawei on suspicions of spying for China. A government spokesman identified the suspect as Weijing W.; media reports in Poland and China say he’s also known as Stanislaw Wang, Huawei’s sales director in Poland.
In a coordinated arrest, police also detained a Polish citizen named Piotr D. — a former Internal Security Agency official who now works for the telecom Orange Polska, according to Poland’s TVP Info, which first reported the story.
The government has evidence that the two suspects “cooperated with the Chinese services” as they conducted espionage against Poland, according to Stanisław Żaryn, spokesman for the special services branch, in a tweet about the case.
A federal court has ruled the men can be held for three months as the case is investigated further. If convicted, the pair could face up to 10 years imprisonment.
It’s the latest high-profile criminal case for Huawei, coming after Canada’s arrest of its chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, who is also the daughter of the telecom equipment company’s founder. Her arrest highlighted U.S. accusations that Huawei broke sanctions against Iran, but the U.S. has also been pushing to try to curtail Huawei’s influence, warning about the company’s possible ties to Chinese intelligence and calling on countries to exclude the company as they build new 5G networks.
But unlike Meng, who was detained for possible extradition to the U.S., Wang is suspected of conducting espionage against Poland.
Police searched both of the suspects’ homes as they arrested the pair on Tuesday. In addition, TVP Info says, Internal Security Agency officers searched Huawei’s headquarters in Poland, along with an Orange office where Piotr D. worked.
Wang is a graduate of the Beijing University of Foreign Studies who formerly worked in China’s consulate in Gdansk, according to his LinkedIn page. He was Huawei Polska’s government and communications director for five years, before becoming its sales director in 2017.
The Polish suspect in the case, Piotr D., was an officer in the Internal Security Agency until 2011, according to TVP Info, which says he was an adviser to the head of the special service who also had expertise about the network Poland’s government uses to share sensitive information.
The news agency quotes Huawei as offering no comment, beyond saying that it is aware of the case and is monitoring the situation.
A spokesperson for Orange Polska told Reuters, “On Tuesday members of the internal security agency in Poland conducted procedures inquiring into one of our workers. We don’t have any knowledge if it has anything to do with his professional work.”
China’s embassy has reached out to offer consular services to Wang, according to the South China Morning Post, which adds, “China’s foreign ministry expressed grave concerns over the incident.”
Last spring, Huawei surpassed Samsung to become Poland’s top smartphone supplier with more than a third of the market, as China.org reported.