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Huawei fires employee arrested in Poland on spying charges

A Huawei executive arrested in Poland on charges of spying for China has been fired by the Chinese tech comp...

Posted: Jan. 13, 2019 10:16 AM
Updated: Jan. 13, 2019 10:16 AM

A Huawei executive arrested in Poland on charges of spying for China has been fired by the Chinese tech company.

Poland's counterintelligence service confirmed on Friday that a Chinese citizen suspected of spying had been arrested. Polish state media identified the suspect as Huawei's sales director in the country.

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China's embassy in Poland named him as Weijing Wang. In a statement Saturday, Huawei said it had fired Wang for bringing the company into "disrepute."

Huawei is a Chinese telecommunications company that is viewed by US government officials as a national security risk. Other countries have concerns too: It has been prevented from supplying next-generation 5G equipment to Australia and New Zealand.

The company has attracted even greater scrutiny following the arrest of its chief financial officer last month in Canada.

Stanislaw Zaryn, a spokesman for Polish counterintelligence, said in a statement to the country's official press agency that the Chinese citizen had been arrested along with a Polish citizen.

The homes of the suspects were searched on Tuesday, the statement said. A court has ordered the pair to be held for three months, and they face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Both have pleaded not guilty, according to Polish state broadcaster TVP. Zaryn has not responded to CNN's requests for comment.

The Chinese company in its statement said that Wang's "alleged actions have no relation to the company."

"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.

A spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy to Poland said the country was "highly concerned about this incident." Poland had been asked to arrange a consular visit "as soon as possible" and to protect the "rights and interests, safety and humanitarian treatment of the person involved," the spokesperson added.

Huawei is one of China's leading tech companies. It sells more smartphones than Apple (AAPL) and builds advanced telecommunications networks in countries around the world.

CFO Meng Wanzhou, who is the daughter of Huawei's founder, was arrested in Canada in December. She has been released on bail, but faces a lengthy legal fight over extradition to the United States.

The US government alleges that Meng helped the company dodge sanctions on Iran. Huawei has repeatedly said it's unaware of any wrongdoing by Meng.

The arrest has stoked tensions between the United States and China, which have been trying to negotiate an end to their bruising trade war.

It has already fueled a nationalist backlash against American products from some Chinese businesses. If the Huawei executive is extradited to the United States, experts warn US businesses in China could face retaliation.

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