On Tuesday of this week, Polish counterintelligence services raided the premises of Huawei and arrested the in-country Sales Director on charges of espionage.
The individual, a Chinese national who was working for a Polish branch of the Chinese-owned tech giant was arrested and detained on suspicion of using his position to spy and cause a threat to national intelligence. This recent arrest is just the latest in a long line of legal woes and allegations relating to espionage, security risks, and the evasion of sanctions, levied against the company.
In December 2018, the CFO of Huawei Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada on behest of the US authorities as a part of an investigation into allegations of fraud and avoiding US sanctions against Iran and North Korea. Wanzhou was accused of deceiving international banks into clearing transactions with Iran relating to the provision of equipment that can be used for mass spying on members of the public.
Huawei has also come under fire in Norway, Germany, US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada with several nations taking steps to ban the company, its 5G network and hardware used to facilitate any of its services. When questioned on their motives for doing so, the general response is due to a significant threat to national security.
US officials have stated that they believe the application of the Chinese National Intelligence law could lead to a situation where both Chinese owned companies and high-level employees could engage in acts of espionage at the request of the Chinese government. The National Intelligence Law states that “organisations and citizens shall support, cooperate with, and collaborate in national intelligence work”.
Despite growing numbers of countries rejecting, warning against, or outright banning Huawei’s operations within their countries, Albania has remained silent on the matter. Not only are Huawei products available widely throughout the country, despite fears that they contain “backdoors” that can be used to spy on users, but a company called Huawei Technologies Albania SH.P.K is registered to an address on Rruga Jordan Misja, Tirana.
The government are yet to comment on whether they intend on furthering their relationship with Huawei and also whether any investigation or review of the company’s activities within the country will be undertaken to protect the privacy of citizens. Calls for comment to Edi Rama, Belinda Balluku, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Minister Ditmir Bushati remain unanswered at the time of writing.