Tuesday 1 June 2021 2:18 pm

Former Huawei executive in court over China spying accusations

A former Huawei executive and an ex-Polish secret services agent have appeared in court over allegations they carried out state-sponsored spying for China.

Weijing Wang and Piotr Durbajlo, who were arrested in 2019 and have both pleaded not guilty, were in court for the start of the trial in Warsaw this morning.

Polish prosecutors allege that Wang spent more than seven years spying for Beijing under the cover of being a Huawei executive in a bid to gain influence over Polish authorities.

Wang, who has been in detention since his arrest, is also charged with recruiting Durbajlo to provide information about ways of influencing the country’s rescue and public safety services radio networks.

The Pole, a cybersecurity expert who was released on bail after six months, is accused of “offering himself as a source of information” regarding public administration.

The court closed the case to the public today following a request from the prosecution. Prosecutor Anna Karlinska said this was necessary to protect the methods used in Polish counterintelligence operations.

If convicted, the two men face a minimum of three years in prison.

The case marks a further escalation in tensions between the west and China over fears over Huawei’s links to Beijing and state-sponsored espionage.

Countries including the UK have banned the company’s technology from mobile networks over national security risks — something the tech giant has always denied.

Huawei, which fired Wang after his arrest but has helped to finance his legal fees, said its activities were “in accordance with the highest standards of transparency and adherence to laws and regulation”.