Chinese telecom giant Huawei has hired former Brazilian President Michel Temer as an advisor as the auction for next-generation 5G wireless networks approaches in the country, ZDNet reported.
The Covid-19 pandemic delayed Brazil’s 5G auction, originally set for March 2020. It is now expected to be held early this year.
Huawei confirmed the appointment of Temer, a constitutional law professor and lawyer, in a statement, saying that the company was “committed to transparency with all stakeholders,” said the report, which was carried by Express Computer online.
The appointment of Temer gains significance in view of his proximity with current Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.
Last week, US Senator Rick Scott (R-Fla) sent a letter to Bolsonaro urging him to reconsider Brazil’s decision to open the country’s 5G network auctions to Huawei, which the US government has determined to be a national security threat.
Reuters reported last week that financial costs in the range of billions of dollars and the exit of US President Donald Trump have forced President Bolsonaro, who had opposed Huawei on unproven grounds, to backtrack on his opposition to Huawei’s bid.
Analysts said the reported move is significant as it makes Brazil the first country to stand up to the US on Huawei after Trump’s election loss.
In his current role, Temer will be tasked to offer legal advice on 5G implementation in Brazil, the report said.
Temer became Brazil’s President after Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment in 2016. His tenure ended in late 2018.
In 2019, he was arrested for allegedly accepting kickbacks from nuclear energy firm Electronuclear, which was granted a government contract to build the Angra 3 power plant, the report said.
The former Brazilian president was later ordered to be released from prison.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported that Brazil’s federal government will require winners of an upcoming 5G spectrum auction to build a high security wireless network for its exclusive use, according to an order published late on Friday.
While the decision does not mention Huawei, it erases the likelihood of banning any company from the auction, Bloomberg reported.
Vice President Hamilton Mourao has said that any company that takes part in the auction will be subject to the country’s data protection laws and must respect Brazil’s sovereignty.
Arguments put forth by the current US administration are that Huawei has links to the Communist Party of China and therefore data won’t be safe from surveillance.
However, no proof has ever been released publicly to prove the allegation.
Sources: Florida Daily, ZDNet, Express Computer, Bloomberg, Neowin.net