Three former Rio Tinto employees to appeal China jail terms

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Shanghai, Apr 8(ANI): Three of the four former Rio Tinto employees, who were jailed by a Shanghai court last month for stealing commercial secrets in relation to sensitive iron ore negotiations and receiving bribes, have decided to appeal their jail terms.

However, Stern Hu's lawyer Jin Chunqing said that the Australian national, who headed Rio's iron ore operations in China and was sentenced to 10 years behind bars, will not appeal his guilty verdict.

On March 29, Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People's Court had sentenced four employees, Hu, Wang Yong, Ge Minqiang and Liu Caikui, to jail terms ranging from seven to 14 years.

The four were convicted of receiving more than 92 million yuan (13 million dollars) in bribes.

The court also said the four men had used improper means to acquire commercial secrets from Chinese steel mills from 2003 to last year.

It is alleged that the information was used to drive up the price that China paid for its iron ore imports.

During the trial, only one of the four pled guilty to the charge of industrial espionage, although they all admitted to bribery charges.he Chinese Government was earlier criticised by the Australian Government, for the secrecy they maintained in the case.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd had claimed that part of the trial was held in secret and condemned the sentence as "very harsh".

"This has left serious unanswered questions about this conviction," Rudd had said.

"In holding this part of the trial in secret, China, I believe, has missed an opportunity to demonstrate to the world at large transparency that would be consistent with its emerging global ole," he added. (ANI)

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