Rio Tinto: Case moved to Shanghai Prosecutors

A formal investigation of charges against Stern Hu, a Rio Tinto PLC executive who was arrested with three further employees, has ended and the case now moves to local prosecutors for consideration, according to the agency making the announcement, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, in Canberra, quoted by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ). Police “handed findings to local prosecutors” in Shanghai, Australian officials are quoted.

The charges appear to be employing bribery and other illegal means to drive the multibillion-dollar mineral-sales business in China for Rio Tinto. However, the actual direction of the investigations and charges appears to be unclear.

The company’s detained employees “aren’t reachable and haven’t appeared in public”, according to the WSJ. The paper adds that the case also raises questions about how the massive Australia-China ore trade should establish pricing. Normally, Sino-Australia price talks for the following year start in October. For 2010, they haven’t begun. The company’s chief executive Tom Albanese sees a top priority in rebuilding the company’s China relationship, writes the WSJ.


Rio Tinto employees arrested in China, July 8, 2009

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