Pole held for China spying worked on security for pope visit

Thu, January 17, 2019 05:07 EST

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — A Polish cybersecurity expert charged with spying for China cooperated with Poland's government on security measures for a visit by Pope Francis and a Catholic Church event that brought hundreds of thousands of young people to the country in 2016, a Polish radio station said Thursday.

Polish authorities last week arrested Piotr D., a Polish citizen who has held several government cybersecurity posts, as well as a Chinese man, identified as Wang Weijing, who was sales director in Poland for Huawei, China's tech giant, on charges of spying for China. Prosecutors refused to offer details, saying the case is classified.

Private radio station RMF FM posted a communique it obtained from the Polish prime minister's office that said Piotr D. was part of a team that built cybersecurity for the Catholic Church's 2016 World Youth Day and Francis' five-day visit to Poland.

The prime minister at the time was Beata Szydlo of the right-wing Law and Justice party, which still governs Poland.

The message said the man was head of the inspections department at the state Cyber Communications Office and was involved in the planning of Francis' visit, free of charge.

The government said in the communique that it informed the anti-espionage Internal Security Agency, which made the arrest, about the cooperation.

The development comes as the U.S. is exerting pressure on its allies not to use Huawei, the world's biggest maker of telecommunications network equipment, over data security concerns.

Huawei said after the arrests that it has fired the sales director, arguing he has brought the firm's reputation "into disrepute."

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