Australian foreign minister Stephen Smith disclosed that Stern Hu is being detained on suspicion of spying and stealing state secrets in China. Smith said Hu was being accused of causing a huge loss to China's national economic security.
"As understood from a Shanghai State Security Bureau, during China's iron ore negotiations with foreign miners in 2009, Stern Hu gathered and stole state secrets from China via illegal means including bribing internal staff of Chinese steel companies," Smith said, reading from the statement posted on a government website.
"This has caused huge loss to China's national economic security and interests," he added.
Meanwhile, the Aluminum Corporation of China (Chinalco) says the detention of four Rio Tinto Ltd employees in Shanghai on spying charges is not related to its failed bid to invest 19.5 billion dollars in the resources giant.