Huawei Employee Trial Unfolds in Poland

The former sales director of Huawei and former Polish military intelligence member are currently on trial in Poland. The men are accused of spying and gathering sensitive data. After two years of investigation, the prosecutor’s office finally filled the official charges against the company’s employee and the trial got underway at the beginning of June.

Wang Weijing is accused of gathering classified information and trying to influence Polish authorities in Warsaw. According to the charges, the Wang was able to recruit Piotr Durbajlo, a former Internal Security Agency (ABW) officer who was reportedly then on staff at the Military Technical Academy (WAT) in Warsaw. The former ABW officer allegedly helped Wang by providing information. Both men pleaded not guilty before the court on 1 June.

In the early 2000s Wang had studied Polish at the School of Polish for Foreigners at the University of Łódź and had previously worked at the General Consulate of People’s Republic of China in Gdańsk for four and a half years before later joining Huawei.

The case is important as it may impact on current efforts to select a company to constructed a 5G network in Poland. The Polish administration has not decided on the main contractor for the construction yet. Huawei is one of the contestants in the tender but the Chinese electronics manufacturer is already under pressure from the US due to sanctions placed by the White House. Wang stated in a written response to questions from Reuters that: “5G was pretty much out of the scope of my interests. 5G was not a part of my business KPI (Key Performance Index). I learned the industry’s trends and status, but I was not responsible for that part of business.”

The fears over network safety grow as Huwaei and other Chinese companies are accused of collecting personal data and installing spy software on their devices. In this particular case, the Chinese offer for the construction of the new communication network in Poland might be rejected as the Poles belong to NATO and actively seek cooperation with the United States.

Whether Wang Weijing will be found guilty or not, the trial is a huge blow to the company’s image and the mutual trust between Warsaw and Beijing. The trial leaves many questions over the extent of the Chinese intelligence operations in Poland and the vulnerability of national security. This last concern is raised by various experts since the dissolution of the Military Intelligence Service (WSI), in 2007 by Antoni Macierewicz, and the publication of WSI agents personal data in the process. Patience will be key as the trial slowly unfolds before the Polish court and their is no date yet set for the final verdict.