China Sentences 4 Rio Tinto Employees To Jail

A Chinese court sentenced four employees of mining giant Rio Tinto with jail terms of seven to 14 years on bribery and commercial secrets charges. The judge said the crimes committed by the four had caused major losses to the Chinese steel industry.


NPR's business news starts with China sending a foreign executive to prison.

(Soundbite of music)

MONTAGNE: A court in Shanghai has sentenced four executives of an international mining company to jail. One was an Australian citizen. The men were working for the mining giant Rio Tinto. The case has riveted foreign business community in China.

NPR's Louisa Lim was in the courtroom, and has this report.

LOUISA LIM: Australian Stern Hu gave no visible reaction when his sentence of 10 years in prison was read out. Foreign journalists have been allowed to watch the verdict on closed circuit television. Hu and three Chinese Rio Tinto employees were found guilty of accepting bribes and violating commercial secrets. The longest sentence was 14 years, handed down to an employee found guilty of taking $9 million in bribes.

In the matter of commercial secrets, the court said the men had collected information about closed meetings held by the China Iron and Steel Association. It said the actions of the four Rio Tinto employees had caused losses of $150 million to China's steel industry and seriously damaged its competitiveness.

Louisa Lim, NPR News, Shanghai.

Copyright © 2010 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.