Huawei logo and sign on September 12, 2020, in Warsaw, Poland. Photo: AFP / Aleksander Kalka / NurPhoto

The ex-head of Chinese tech giant Huawei’s Polish branch and a former Polish intelligence agent went on trial in Warsaw Tuesday for allegedly spying for China, a court spokesperson said.

The two men, who are referred to in court documents only as Weijing W and Piotr D, were arrested in January 2019.

Weijing W is accused of “participating in the activities of China’s secret service in the Republic of Poland and of supplying them with information that could be prejudicial to the Republic of Poland,” a court document published by Gazeta Wyborcza showed.

Prosecutors said Weijing W had acted as “an officer of Chinese espionage acting under the commercial cover of Huawei Polska” with the ultimate aim of “managing the IT infrastructure of national and local administrations in Poland.”

In a statement published a few days after his arrest, Weijing W, who has been in detention since then awaiting trial, protested his innocence and that of his employer.

Piotr D, who at the time of his arrest was working for French telecom giant Orange in Poland, was freed after six months pending trial and has also rejected the accusations.

Huawei has been a bone of contention between China and the United States for years as part of broader trade and technology disputes, particularly over the development of 5G networks.

Washington has blacklisted Huawei, and several other countries have also excluded the company from their 5G infrastructure for national security reasons.

Warsaw is currently preparing an amendment to cybersecurity legislation that experts say could lead to Huawei being excluded from its 5G networks and possibly from the telecom sector as a whole.

– AFP