European governments are under pressure from Washington to place curbs on Huawei, but Germany has so far stopped short of banning the company outright.

Schindler, who led Germany’s intelligence service from 2011 to 2016, said Huawei could create so-called back doors in its 5G systems and ‘we would have no idea what they were building’.

‘It’s as though an engineer specialised in steam engines were supposed to assess an internal combustion engine,’ he said.

‘You can imagine scenarios where we are in a crisis and the threat “We’re going to turn your communication network off” would influence our decisions.’