Huawei employee arrested over alleged spying

Poland accused the sales director and a former security agent of espionage on China's behalf.

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Huawei had a presence at CES, but one of its employees was arrested in Poland while the show was going on.

Robert Lever / AFP/Getty Images

Poland arrested a Huawei employee and a former Polish security agent for allegedly spying for China.

The Huawei employee is a Chinese national and the company's sales director for public-sector clients in Poland, while the former agent is a Pole who worked for Orange Polska, the local branch of a French telecom, Polish TV broadcaster Telewizja Polska (TVP) reported.

The pair was arrested by the country's Internal Security Agency on Tuesday and hit with espionage charges, according to a release from the agency. They'll both remain in custody for at least three months.

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They were named as Weijing W. and Piotr D. in the agency release.

Huawei didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. In a statement given to CNBC, the company said it was "aware of the situation" and looking into it. Huawei also told CNBC that it "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."

Orange Polska said it handed over one employee's belongings to authorities.

"On Tuesday, the ABW (Internal Security Agency) officials conducted actions, as a result of which, we handed over belongings of one of our employees," a spokesperson for the telecom said in an emailed statement.

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The Poland arrests come a month after a Huawei executive was detained in Canada at US request, over alleged violations of Iran sanctions.

Huawei, the second-largest smartphone maker and one of the biggest telecommunications equipment suppliers in the world, has struggled to gain a foothold in the US. The government has issued repeated warnings about the security of its products and expected deals to bring some Huawei phones to the States never materialized. In March, Best Buy announced it would no longer sell any Huawei products.

Still, Huawei seems determined not to give up on the US. At CES in Las Vegas this week, the Chinese company showed off the 48-megapixel camera on its Honor View 20 phone and unveiled US-only variants of its Matebook 13 laptop and MediaPad M5 Lite tablet.

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