The trial of four employees of global mining giant Rio Tinto has ended in Shanghai, and anxious eyes are awaiting the verdict.
The quartet is accused of corruption and industrial espionage. The international business community is worried about its implications, beyond the consequences for the Anglo-Australian company.
China’s commercial legal climate and the trial have been questioned, particularly in Australia, which was not allowed to send diplomats to the espionage hearings and trial trail as observers. It was held behind closed doors.
Rio Tinto’s boss Tom Albanese is in Beijing for an economic forum, and says he has been closely following the trial.
The accused’s lawyers say their clients have pleaded guilty to the corruption charges, while contesting certain elements, and three reject the claims of industrial espionage. If found guilty they could be jailed for 15 years. The verdict is not expected for several days.