24 Mar 2010

Rio Tinto executives' trial ends

10:12 pm on 24 March 2010

The trial of four executives of the global mining giant Rio Tinto has ended in Shanghai but no verdict has been announced.

Australian Stern Hu and three Chinese colleagues Liu Caikui, Ge Mingqiang and Wang Yong faced charges of receiving bribes and infringing commercial secrets.

The ABC reports the final day's proceedings were held behind closed doors and only court officials, lawyers, prosecutors and the defendants were present.

Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith says it could be several days before Hu's fate is known.

The four asked for leniency in sentencing because they made certain admissions, although the amounts of money were contested.

Stern Hu was accused of receiving bribes in two amounts which add up to more than $A1 million.

Ge Mingqiang is said to have taken a similar amount and Liu Caikui about half as much.

The allegation against Wang Yong is that he took 10 times the amount Stern Hu allegedly did, receiving bribes worth more than $A10 million.

Stern Hu has already admitted he took some level of bribes, but who offered the bribes and what they expected in return is not known to those outside the court.

The confession makes it almost certain he will receive some form of jail term.

It is not known when the verdict will be handed down.