China to deliver Hu verdict on 29 March

Former Rio Tinto executive Stern Hu will learn of his fate next week on the 29 March, when the court delivers the verdict in his trial for accepting bribery and stealing commercial secrets.

Former Rio Tinto executive Stern Hu will learn of his fate next week on the 29 March, when the court delivers the verdict in his trial for accepting bribery and stealing commercial secrets.

The trial got underway on Monday with sessions relating to the bribery charges, which were open to Australian consular officials.

Hu and his colleagues all pleaded guilty to accepting bribes and, according to reports, have apologised to Rio for doing so.

According to a statement from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Hu was accused of receiving two amounts: one of RMB1 million (around A$160,000) and another of US$790,000 (A$865,000).

Reports suggest two of the other executives, Ge Minqiang and Liu Caikui, have been accused of accepting RMB6 million and RMB3.7 million respectively.

However, all three are disputing the value of the kickbacks.

Furthermore, the Chinese media is claiming Liu has admitted to stealing state secrets, while the other three have pleaded not guilty.

The sessions for stealing commercial secrets have been closed to the public and consular officials.

DFAT said consular officials will be present at the court when the verdict is delivered and the Government would make a statement at the conclusion of the proceedings.

Hu and the other Shanghai-based Rio Tinto executives, Wang Yong, Ge Minqiang and Liu Caikui, were detained by Chinese authorities in July last year and were eventually charged with stealing state secrets.

These charges were downgraded to stealing commercial secrets, but the four still face the possibility of jail time if convicted.

According to reports, the jail time for stealing commercial secrets can be between one and seven years, while a bribery charge carries a sentence of more than five years.

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