Huawei leak row: Disclosure does not amount to any crime

Last Updated: Tue, May 14, 2019 23:32 hrs

[UK], May 5 (ANI): The British police on Saturday declined to investigate the leak of details from a secret government discussion about Chinese telecom company Huawei, saying that the disclosure does not amount to any crime.

In a statement, Neil Basu, Britain's counter-terrorism chief, said he was satisfied that the leak, which brought down the Defence Secretary, did not breach the Official Secrets Act, Al Jazeera reported.

"No crime has been committed and this is not a matter for the police," he said.

Opposition lawmakers had urged for an investigation after Prime Minister Theresa May sacked Gavin Williamson as Defence Secretary over reports that Britain had agreed to let Huawei participate in some aspects of Britain's new 5G wireless communications network.

The decision was reportedly made at an April 23 meeting of the National Security Council (NSC). The council's discussions were only attended by senior ministers and security officials who first signed the Official Secrets Act that allows them to keep conversations private or risk prosecution.

Basu, whose section is responsible for investigating alleged breaches of the act, said a probe would be inappropriate.

"I am satisfied that the disclosure did not amount to a criminal offence, either under the Official Secrets Act or misconduct in a public office," Basu was quoted as saying.

"The leak did not cause damage to the public interest at a level at which it would be necessary to engage misconduct in a public office. It would be inappropriate to carry out a police investigation in these circumstances," he added.

Williamson has repeatedly denied he was the source of the leak and suggested that May had cleared Huawei to be involved in "non-core" elements of the 5G networks.

The 42-year-old former minister was once a trusted ally of May. He was May's parliamentary campaign manager when she successfully ran to become Conservative Party leader in 2016.

The United States is adamantly opposed to Huawei's involvement in developing Britain's 5G network due to the firm's obligation under Chinese law to help its home government gather intelligence or provide other security services when required. (ANI)