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Rio Tinto in ASIC’s sights after Stern Hu verdict

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has revealed it will begin its investigations against mining company Rio Tinto after Stern Hu and three others were found guilty of taking bribes and obtaining trade secrets last month.

ASIC Rio TintoASIC spokesperson Tony D’Aloisio said the body needed to confirm whether there had been any breaches of Australian corporate law.

“As you would in any situation where you’ve got a listed company that may be involved in or there may be concerns around, breaches of law, whether its domestic or foreign, you need to look at whether it has any domestic implications for us,” he told ABC’s Inside Business program.

“And we’re clearly looking at whether there are any.”

“But really, on the face of it, it doesn’t look like that appears to be the case, but we’re … making routine inquiries.” Mr D’Aloisio said.

While Rio Tinto is not in trouble yet, ASIC is obliged to make “routine inquiries”, these inquiries will include assessing any incidents that have occurred in the company to determine what could be learned from them helping the company avoid them in the future, as well as any legal ramifications that may apply under Australian law.

Internationally the Stern Hu case is getting attention from the Serious Fraud Office in Britain as well as the Department of Justice in the US, with the 10 year sentence handed down on Stern Hu and his associated the most severe in a case like this in China to date.

With Mr Hu not choosing to appeal the decision, but with his associates choosing to do so, this will prove to be a useful test case to gauge how the Chinese legal system will operate when dealing with cases of this nature in the future.

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David Olsen

David Olsen

An undercover economist and a not so undercover geek. Politics, business and psychology nerd and anti-bandwagon jumper. Can be found on Twitter: <a href="http://www.twitter.com/DDsD">David Olsen - DDsD</a>

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