4 Rio Tinto staff get 7-14 yrs jail terms

08:41, March 30, 2010      

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Four defendants in the Rio Tinto case, including Australian national Stern Hu, got jail terms from seven to 14 years for bribery and stealing commercial secrets, court sources said Monday.


Australian Consul-General in Shanghai Tom Connor (R) speaks to the media outside the Shanghai First Intermediate People's Court in Shanghai, east China, March 29, 2010. Four Rio Tinto employees, including Australian citizen Stern Hu, were sentenced in Shanghai on Monday after a Chinese court last week found them guilty of accepting bribes and stealing commercial secrets. Hu was sentenced to 10 years in jail while his three co-accused, Chinese nationals Liu Caikui, Wang Yong and Ge Minqiang were sentenced to jail terms ranging from seven to 14 years. (Xinhua/Chen Fei)

The verdict was handed down Monday afternoon by the Shanghai No.1 Intermediate People's Court.

According to the court, Stern Hu, born in 1956, was sentenced to 10 years in jail for bribery and stealing commercial secrets, with his assets confiscated and a fine of 1 million yuan (146,413 U.S. dollars) imposed.

Wang Yong, born in 1969, got a jail term of 14 years, with his assets confiscated and a fine of 5.2 million yuan imposed.

Ge Minqiang, born in 1975, was sentenced to eight years in jail, with his assets confiscated and a fine of 800,000 yuan imposed.

Liu Caikui, born in 1978, received a jail term of seven years, with his assets confiscated and a fine of 700,000 yuan imposed.


Journalists report the Rio Tinto case outside the Shanghai First Intermediate People's Court in Shanghai, east China, March 29, 2010. (Xinhua/Chen Fei)

All of their illegal earnings should be recovered, according to the court.

The court found that Hu took bribes of 6.46 million yuan, and Wang took bribes of 75.14 million yuan. Bribes taken by Ge were 6.94 million yuan, and those by Liu, 3.78 million yuan.

The court verdict says that from 2003 to 2009, the four used improper means to acquire commercial secrets from Chinese steel companies. The information they obtained was used as a bargaining chip to jack up the price that China paid for its iron ore imports.

According to the court, last year 20-plus Chinese steelmakers paid an extra advance totaling 1.02 billion yuan for their iron ore imports because of the crimes committed by the four.

During the investigation into the case, Hu, Ge and Liu confessed the details about the bribes.


A police van carrying the accused of Rio Tinto case runs out of the Shanghai First Intermediate People's Court in Shanghai, east China, March 29, 2010. (Xinhua/Chen Fei)

The trial, from March 22 to 24, involved two parts. One was a closed-door hearing for the charges of stealing commercial secrets, and the other, an open-door, public hearing for the bribery charges, which was attended by immediate families of the defendants, local legislators and political advisors, staff with the Australian consulate-general in Shanghai and journalists.

Source: Xinhua

http://paper.people.com.cn/rmrb/html/2010-03/30/nw.D110000renmrb_20100330_3-11.htm?div=-1
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http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90776/90883/6934184.pdf