The trial of four Rio Tinto (RIO.ASX, RIO.LSE) employees accused of taking bribes and stealing commercial secrets in China ended Wednesday with no indication as to when a verdict would come, the Financial Times reported. The four men – Stern Hu, an Australian citizen and formerly head of Rio Tinto’s iron ore sales team in China, and Chinese nationals Liu Caikui, Ge Minqiang and Wang Yong – have been held since July. The Shanghai was in closed session on Wednesday to hear charges relating to the theft of commercial secrets, specifically the collection of information about Chinese steelmakers, including their iron ore demand. According to lawyers in attendance, one of the defendants pleaded guilty, but it was apparently not Hu. The four defendants admitted Monday to accepting bribes, although they contested the sums involved. State media said the bribes totaled US$13.5 million. The court was told that Du Shuanghua, owner of Rizhao Steel and one of China’s richest men, gave Wang US$9 million, although Wang’s lawyer said this was merely a loan to buy shares in Hong Kong.
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