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PARIS: The French offices of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei were raided this week on suspicion of improper behaviour, a judicial source told AFP on Thursday.

The source said Tuesday’s raids were carried out as part of a preliminary investigation launched by France’s financial prosecution service (PNF).

No other details were immediately available about the probe into the company, whose French offices are located just outside Paris in Boulogne-Billancourt.

Improper behaviour can include offenses such as corruption and influence peddling.

Huawei says it has reached global patent licensing deal with Xiaomi

Huawei arrived in France in 2003 and now runs six research centers and a global design center in the country.

The telecoms giant is currently building a factory in Alsace in northeastern France, its first outside China, to produce equipment for mobile telecom networks, in particular 5G.

Huawei has around 20 percent of France’s telecommunications market.

Founded in 1987, Huawei is the world’s leading equipment manufacturer for 5G, the fifth generation of mobile internet.

The Shenzhen-based giant has been at the centre of an intense standoff between China and the United States, with Washington warning its equipment could be used for state espionage, an allegation the company denies.

In June last year, the European Commission warned that Huawei and another Chinese telecoms giant, ZTE, pose a risk to the EU’s security.

The EU’s internal market commissioner, Thierry Breton, has called on the bloc’s 27 member states and its telecoms operators to exclude Huawei and ZTE equipment from their mobile networks.

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