Trial of Four Rio Tinto Employees Opens in China

The trial of Stern Hu and the three other Rio Tinto employees charged with espionage and bribery has opened in Shanghai. From Reuters:

Four police vans swept into the court in Shanghai, China’s financial hub, while foreign reporters were excluded from the trial of Australian national Stern Hu and three Chinese employees of Rio (RIO.AX) (RIO.L), all accused of taking bribes and violating commercial secrets.

The case has highlighted the risks of doing business in a country with a huge market but close ties between the ruling Communist Party, police and courts. Shanghai is likely to want the case over quickly, before its much ballyhooed 2010 World Expo opens in Shanghai in May.

At the same time, Rio Tinto’s CEO is set to speak in Beijing about the future of the company’s relationship with China, MarketWatch reports:

Chief Executive Tom Albanese is expected to tell senior Chinese leaders in Beijing that the group is prepared to boost investment in the country and stress that a positive relationship with its largest market is vital to the group’s continued success, the Australian newspaper reported Monday.

“I would like to be in a position where we can be looking to invest in China if the right opportunity comes along,” Albanese was quoted as saying Sunday. “I would like to see a closer, more enduring relationship.”

March 21, 2010 7:14 PM
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