Huawei founder breaks silence to deny espionage charges

Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei denied all accusations of espionage in a foreign media briefing. (FierceWireless)

The CEO and founder of Huawei, Ren Zhengfei, hasn’t spoken with foreign media since 2015, but he has broken his silence to vehemently deny charges of espionage that continue to weigh on the Chinese company, Bloomberg reports. During a gathering with foreign media at Huawei’s headquarters, Ren said the company has no regular contact with the Chinese government and denied all charges of spying.

“I love my country, I support the Communist Party. But I will not do anything to harm the world,” Ren said, according to Bloomberg. “I don’t see a close connection between my personal political beliefs and the businesses of Huawei.”

The forceful denial from the reclusive billionaire highlights the precarious position the company is in after multiple incidents and arrests have reinforced widening fears about the company’s operations. Ren’s daughter Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada last month upon request from U.S. officials for allegedly using the global banking system to evade U.S. sanctions against Iran. And last week, a director of sales for Huawei was arrested in Poland for allegedly spying on behalf of China. Ren declined to comment in detail about his daughter’s arrest.

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Ren told journalists that he would decline any request from the Chinese government for sensitive information on Huawei's customers, and said neither he nor the company has ever fielded such a request. Amid heightened tensions and controversies that are stretching across the globe, Ren said he was confident the company’s revenue would grow to $125 billion this year. “If they don’t want Huawei to be in some markets, we can scale down a bit. As long as we can survive and feed our employees, there’s a future for us,” he said, according to Bloomberg.

Ren also made a positive and calculated statement intended to catch the attention of President Donald Trump, calling him “a great president.” Trump is reportedly considering an executive order that would bar U.S. companies from using equipment made by Huawei and ZTE. He also likely has at least some sway over the ongoing detention of Meng in Canada.

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“When it comes to cybersecurity and privacy protection we are committed to be sided with our customers,” he said, according to CNBC. “We will never harm any nation or any individual.”