Rio China trial defendant says treated fairly-lawyer

By Tom Miles

BEIJING, March 26 (BestGrowthStock) – Stern Hu, the Australian
citizen and Rio Tinto executive on trial in China this week on
charges of bribery and stealing commercial secrets, said he has
been treated fairly, his lawyer told Reuters on Friday.

Hu and three Chinese colleagues await Monday’s verdict in
Shanghai in a case that strained Sino-Australian relations and
worried foreign investors concerned about equal treatment in
Chinese courts controlled by the Communist Party.

The case is also closely followed by the steel industry
because Rio Tinto (RIO.AX: )(RIO.L: ) is the world’s second-largest
mining firm and one of the top three global miners of iron ore.

“Stern himself explicitly and repeatedly confirmed to us
that he has been fairly treated; my colleague … and I do
share his opinion,” lawyer Jin Chunqing, of Fangben Law Office
in Shanghai, told Reuters in an email.

Jin gave no other details.

All four pleaded guilty to the bribery charge but contested
the amount of kickbacks alleged by prosecutors, lawyers said.

Only one defendant, Liu Caikui, pleaded guilty to
infringing commercial secrets, lawyers said. Liu was charged
with the least amount of alleged kickbacks [ID:nSGE62N0EO].

“Due to the complexity of the charge of infringing upon
business secrets, it is hard to predict the final outcome for
the time being,” Jin said.

The three were detained in July, at the height of tense
annual negotiations over iron ore prices, and formally arrested
in August.

Because Hu is an Australian citizen, Australian diplomats
were allowed to observe the bribery portion of the trial.
However, China closed the portion dealing with the commercial
secrets charges, a decision Australia protested against.

Foreign journalists have been barred from the courtroom and
Chinese media coverage has been limited.

Stock Market Trading

(Writing by Lucy Hornby; Editing by Paul Tait)

Rio China trial defendant says treated fairly-lawyer