China Indicts Four Rio Tinto (LON:RIO) Employees

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

Four employees from Rio Tinto (LON:RIO) have been indicted by China, with three being Chinese nationals and the fourth an Australian named Stern Hu. The three Chinese are Ge Minqiang, Liu Caikui and Wang Yong.

Charges against the four are for bribery and illegally obtaining commercial secrets. Original charges also included stealing state secrets, but those have been dropped. The bribery charges could result in up to 20 years in prison. The theft of commercial secrets could result in from 3 to 7 years in prison depending on "serious" cases.

It's probably a certainty at this stage that the four will face a trail in a court in Shanghai as a result of the official indictment.

There could be other charges and cases brought up in the future concerning executives at Chinese steel companies concerning similar accusations.

While Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd given some public warnings to China at the economic stakes involved, it was a somewhat empty threat, as Australia has already said the case won't have any negative effects on the trade of the country with China, meaning the Australian Stern Hu will be alone in his Chinese court battle.

Under normal conditions of Chinese trials, foreigners aren't allowed to watch them, with an Australian national involved, it's possible Australian diplomats may be allowed to watch the proceedings.

Article by Gary B

The views expressed are the subjective opinion of the article's author and not of

Tags: australia business , chinese business , exports , legal issues , rio tinto

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