An espionage trial involving a former Polish secret services agent and an ex-employee of Huawei has begun in Warsaw. The suspected case of spying has strengthened the resolve of the forces in the country, as well as in other EU states, who consider it vital to exclude the Chinese group’s equipment from their developing 5G telecom networks.
Poland arrested the two men in January 2019 on suspicion of spying for China, in a move that has ramped up international debate over the potential security risks of using Huawei equipment in communications networks.
Huawei has repeatedly denied its equipment can be used for espionage by authorities in Beijing, but the United States has been pressuring countries to ban it. In Europe, only Britain and Sweden have so far done so.
Polish prosecutors allege that Wang Weijing, 39, using the cover of being a Huawei executive, spent more than seven years spying for China trying to bolster the company’s ability to influence the Polish government and “enable it to… manage the state… technology infrastructure,” court documents show.
Wang is also charged with recruiting a former Polish secret service agent who, prosecutors say, informed him about ways of influencing the country’s rescue and public safety services radio networks.
The Polish defendant, Piotr D., who had been released upon paying bail after six months and had worked for years in the top echelons of government, is accused of “offering himself as a source of information”. Huawei fired Wang after his arrest but helped finance his legal fees.
Former US vice-president Mike Pence stated in 2019 that Poland’s handling of the case demonstrated its commitment to ensuring the telecommunications sector was “not compromised in a way that threatens our national security.”
The Polish government proposed draft legislation last year that could lead to the exclusion of Huawei from building 5G networks, but the proposal has yet to be discussed by parliament.