Chinese court jails Rio Tinto employees

March 29th, 2010 - 6:00 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, March 29 (IANS) A court in China Monday gave jail terms to four people, including an Australian, in the Rio Tinto case for bribery and stealing commercial secrets.
The Intermediate People’s Court in Shanghai gave jail terms ranging from seven to 14 years to the four defendants, including Australian Stern Hu, in the case, court sources said.

On July 5, 2009, four employees of Rio Tinto, a multinational mining and resources group with its headquarters in London and Melbourne, were arrested in Shanghai for corruption and espionage.

Hu was sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined one million yuan ($146,413) for bribery and stealing commercial secrets. His assets were also confiscated, Xinhua reported.

Co-accused Wang Yong, Ge Minqiang and Liu Caikui got 14 years, eight years and seven years jail terms respectively. They were also fined and their assets were seized by the court.

The court found that all the four accused took millions of yuan in bribes.

The court said the accused tried to acquire commercial secrets from Chinese steel companies through illegal means between 2003 and 2009.

Last year, more than 20 Chinese steel-makers paid 1.02 billion yuan extra for iron ore imports because of the crimes committed by the accused, the court observed.

The trial took place March 22-24 and was attended by the families of the defendants, local legislators and staff with the Australian consulate-general in Shanghai, among others.

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