The founder and chief executive of Huawei Technologies Co. denied that his company ever spied for China, according to The Wall Street Journal, even as the company faces international scrutiny about its relationship to the Chinese government.
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“No law requires any company in China to install mandatory back doors,” Ren Zhengfei said Tuesday while granting a rare interview to international media outlets. “I personally would never harm the interest of my customers and me and my company would not answer to such requests.” Ren’s comments come as the telecom giant grapples with the arrest of its chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou. Meng, the 46-year-old daughter of Ren, was arrested in Canada on Dec. 1 as part of a U.S. investigation into an alleged scheme by Huawei to use the global banking system to circumvent American sanctions against Iran.
Since the arrest of Meng, China has detained 13 Canadians, according to The Globe and Mail. At least eight have been released. "China's ministry of foreign affairs has officially clarified that no law in China requires any company to install mandatory back doors. Huawei and me personally have never received any request from any government to provide improper information," Ren said.
And last week, Poland security services charged a Huawei manager with espionage against the country on behalf of China.
Ren said he was confident that justice would prevail, but said that he missed his daughter. Meng denies the charges.
Huawei’s 74-year-old founder also praised President Trump as a “great president” -- despite being blocked from selling its equipment to the U.S. for many years.
"For President Trump as a person, I still believe he is a great president," he said, according to CNBC. "In the sense that he was bold to slash taxes. And I think that's conducive for the development of industries in the United States."