January 29, 2020 / 11:00 AM / a month ago

Huawei denies German report it colluded with Chinese intelligence

FILE PHOTO: The Huawei logo is seen on a communications device in London, Britain, January 28, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville

BERLIN (Reuters) - Huawei [HWT.UL], the leading maker of telecoms network equipment, denied a newspaper report on Wednesday that alleged the German government was in possession of evidence that it had cooperated with Chinese intelligence.

“Huawei Technologies has never, and will never, do anything to compromise the security of networks and data of its customers,” the Chinese company said in response to the report in the Handelsblatt business daily.

“The Handelsblatt article repeats old, unfounded allegations without providing any concrete evidence whatsoever.”

The Handelsblatt report cited a confidential foreign ministry document that intelligence shared by U.S. officials represented a “smoking gun” that meant Chinese companies were unsafe partners for building next-generation 5G mobile networks.

“At the end of 2019, intelligence was passed to us by the U.S., according to which Huawei is proven to have been cooperating with China’s security authorities,” the newspaper cited the document as saying.

The German foreign ministry said it did not comment on internal documents as a matter of policy.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government and her conservative ruling party are split on whether Huawei’s equipment poses a security threat to Europe’s largest economy, where the three mobile network operators are all customers of the Chinese firm.

Britain on Tuesday decided to bar Huawei from the sensitive “core” of mobile networks, exclude it from strategically important sites, and cap its share in the network periphery at 35%.

The European Union on Wednesday published guidelines under which member countries can restrict or ban high-risk vendors, but stopped short of singling out any one country or company.

Reporting by Douglas Busvine and Andreas Rinke; Editing by Michelle Martin and David Evans

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