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Now, Rio staff faces China secrets charge

Four Rio Tinto executives faced charges in China on Tuesday of stealing commercial secrets after admitting to taking bribes, in a trial that has underscored the Chinese steel industry’s growing need for iron ore.

world Updated: Mar 24, 2010 00:37 IST

Four Rio Tinto executives faced charges in China on Tuesday of stealing commercial secrets after admitting to taking bribes, in a trial that has underscored the Chinese steel industry’s growing need for iron ore.

Lawyers said Australian Stern Hu, head of the China iron ore business, and three Chinese employees of giant miner Rio Tinto could face jail terms of more than five years on the bribery charges.

Hu, his subordinates Liu Caikui and Ge Minqiang, and iron ore salesman Wang Yong were detained last July during sensitive annual price negotiations over iron ore, the main raw material for steel.

The trial takes place at a time when foreign business sentiment is souring against China, where legal boundaries can be vague and courts closely tied to the state, creating pitfalls for businesses seeking profits in the world’s third-biggest economy.

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