HONG KONG—Huawei Technologies Co. fired a sales director who was arrested in Poland on espionage charges, saying he brought the Chinese telecom company “into disrepute.”
Polish authorities said Friday they had arrested Wang Weijing, known locally as Stanislaw Wang, on charges of conducting espionage on behalf of China.
Huawei on Saturday said Mr. Wang’s employment had been terminated and his alleged actions “have no relation to the company.” Huawei also said Mr. Wang “has brought Huawei into disrepute.” Huawei said it complies with the law in all countries where it operates and requires all employees to do the same.
The arrest of Mr. Wang was the latest incident to rock Huawei, the world’s largest maker of telecommunications equipment and the No. 2 maker of smartphones. It came weeks after the arrest of the company’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, in Canada at the request of U.S. authorities, who accuse her of lying about Huawei’s business in Iran.
Polish officials said Huawei hasn’t been charged with wrongdoing in relation to Mr. Wang’s case. A Polish national was also arrested on a similar charge.
The arrest of Mr. Wang spoke directly to suspicions by Washington and other Western governments that Huawei could be conducting espionage on behalf of China. Huawei for years has forcefully denied the allegation, saying it is owned by its employees and operates independently of Beijing.
Still, recently the company has been contending with more Western countries restricting its access to the market for next-generation 5G network upgrades, including Japan, Australia and New Zealand. Huawei has for years been effectively blocked from supplying equipment to major U.S. telecom networks.
Neither Mr. Wang nor a lawyer for him could be reached for comment.
He was a sales director in Poland in Huawei’s enterprise division, where he handled sales of technology to government customers, according to people familiar with the matter. Poland is a key European market for Huawei, which serves all four of the country’s major network operators and is the second-largest vendor of smartphones, with more than a quarter of the market, according to Canalys.
Among its bigger projects, Huawei has helped the nation’s largest operator, Play, to improve the coverage of its 4G base stations, Canalys analyst Mo Jia said. Orange SA and T-Mobile have hired Huawei to launch pre-commercial 5G networks in Poland as well.
China’s Foreign Ministry said it is highly concerned that Mr. Wang was detained, according to reports in China’s state media on Saturday. The ministry said China’s embassy in Warsaw is in touch with Polish authorities and said it is requesting updates, consular access to Mr. Wang and the protection of his rights.
Mr. Wang was well-known in local business circles and spotted at events sponsored by Huawei. According to his LinkedIn profile and people who knew him, Mr. Wang was a public-relations director in the country before taking on his sales job.
Mr. Wang also acted as a cultural bridge of sorts in the country. In a 2014 training program in Warsaw, he helped prepare tourism professionals to adapt to the Chinese market, according to the website of a Polish tourism promotional organization. Mr. Wang studied Polish philosophy in Beijing and adopted a Polish name, the site said.
In one instance, he advised taking casino visits and religious sites out of the itineraries for Chinese tourists visiting Poland, because gambling and religion were deemed too sensitive, according to the site. One organizer took his advice and included “the unspoiled nature of the Bialowieza Forest” and a chemical plant free of toxins in an itinerary for a group of businessmen from China.
Write to Dan Strumpf at [email protected]
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