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COVID-19: UK MPs to summon China-owned firm's executives over security issues, reports BBC

COVID-19: UK MPs to summon China-owned firm's executives over security issues, reports BBC

| @indiablooms | 15 Apr 2020, 12:33 pm

London/IBNS: British MPs might summon a leading UK-based firm, which has a Chinese connection, to answer questions related to security concerns, media reports said.

Imagination Technologies was acquired by a US-based but Chinese state-owned investment firm called Canyon Bridge in September 2017, which is in turn owned by a Chinese state-owned investment fund called China Reform, BBC reported.

There are concerns that the Chinese owner of Imagination Technologies has renewed efforts to transfer ownership of sensitive security software to companies controlled by China, BBC reported.

Lawmakers have expressed their concern that the COVID-19 crisis is an attempt to divert attention from controversial technology transfers.

The fear is that networks in the UK, Europe and the US could be compromised, BBC reported.

Speaking to the BBC, Tom Tugendhat, the chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee said he was concerned that technology developed by Imagination Technologies, based in Hertfordshire, could be used to fine tune the design of so-called "backdoors" into strategically important digital infrastructure.

"The world has changed and companies - particularly tech companies - are on the frontline," said Tugendhat.

"Whoever writes the code, writes the rules for the world, more than any regulation passed by bureaucrats. There's no point in taking back control from Brussels, only to hand it over to Beijing."

Tugendhat said Theresa May's government approved the acquisition on the basis that Canyon Bridge was licensed and regulated by US law, reports BBC.

The company has witnessed several resignations in recent times.

Several senior executives, including chief executive Ron Black, have stepped down recently citing concerns about the future direction and ownership of the company, reports BBC.

Evans is understood to have said in his resignation letter as quoted by the British media: "I will not be part of a company that is effectively controlled by the Chinese government."

An attempt by China Reform to stage a boardroom coup ten days ago by appointing four of its own directors were aborted, but the call for evidence comes amid renewed concerns that the Chinese owners of Imagination are preparing a fresh attempt to transfer sensitive technology patents to mainland China,  it reported.

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