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Stern Hu admits to taking bribes. -

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The trial of Australian Stern Hu has begun in Shanghai, with the mining executive admitting to the
closed court he took bribes.

Transcript

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: After nine months in detention, the trial of Stern Hu and three other Rio
Tinto executives began today in Shanghai.

The media aren't allowed into the court and most of the hearing will take place in secret. And in a
strange twist, while Mr Hu was facing court in Shanghai, Rio Tinto's CEO was in Beijing delivering
a speech on global cooperation to China's government and business elite.

China correspondent Stephen McDonell is in Shanghai.

STEPHEN MCDONELL, CHINA CORRESPONDENT: At a quarter to seven local time, prison vans carrying Stern
Hu and three other Rio Tinto executives arrived at the Shanghai Number One Intermediate Peoples'
Court.

Only selected observers were getting in to see the trial and guards were becoming a little anxious
with so much attention from journalists.

As lawyers arrived, they too had to pass through a media scrum. The Rio Tinto executives will be
represented by legal counsel throughout the case, but despite requests from Canberra, Australia's
Shanghai Consul General Tom Connor and other diplomats will only have access to part of the trial -
that relating to allegedly receiving bribes.

TOM CONNOR, AUSTRALIAN CONSUL GENERAL IN SHANGHAI: After the court (unclear), I'll be talking this
afternoon.

STEPHEN MCDONELL: Some legal scholars have criticised the Australian government for too readily
accepting the closed court decision, arguing that even Chinese law doesn't allow for it. Others say
there was no point in pushing it further.

KEVIN RUDD, AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: China has a different legal system to Australia. China has a
different legal system to the rest of the world. The world will be watching very closely.

STEPHEN MCDONELL: But today at least, there hasn't been much for the world to see. And that's
pretty common with sensitive trials in China.

Well, this has been the order of the day. We stand out the front of the courtroom and hope for
scraps of information from the people who are allowed in. But you already get the feeling that this
trial will finish the same way it began: in secret, with very little solid information about what
these four men are supposed to have done.

While the trial was on in Shanghai, Rio Tinto's CEO was in Beijing, speaking to China's government
and business elite.

TOM ALBANESE, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, RIO TINTO: Last year, we did see four of our employees detained in
Shanghai. I can only say that we respectfully await the outcome of the Chinese legal process.

STEPHEN MCDONELL: Late tonight it's been reported that Stern Hu is pleading guilty to bribery
charges. He's said to have accepted more than one million dollars in bribes. And extended period of
detention now seems to be the most likely outcome for the former head of Rio Tinto's iron ore team
in China.

Stephen McDonell, Lateline.

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Well, as we just heard, one of the few people who was allowed into Stern
Hu's trial today was Australia's Consul General in Shanghai, Tom Connor. And he emerged to speak to
the media just a short time ago.

TOM CONNOR, AUSTRALIAN CONSUL GENERAL IN SHANGHAI: The trial of Hu Stern and his three co-accused
began this morning at the Intermediate Court here in Shanghai.

It kicked of around about eight thirty. It's gone through until five o'clock today. Basically, this
morning was spent with them outlining the case, identifying the individuals concerned, some
information about the company and where people were in the company - that kind of background
information.

Then the general case against the People was outlined and the accused all had an opportunity to
answer and put their views forward on some of the points that were being made.

Then the afternoon session was basically spent with the prosecution putting forward evidence
concerning each of the bribery charges. Today's session was principally about the bribery charges.
And so this afternoon we had that session where the prosecution was able to put forward its
evidence and the defence then, including the accused, had an opportunity to speak to and address
those pieces of evidence.

And tomorrow morning, the trial will continue on the bribery charges.

Now, I can tell you that the, uh... the, um... Mr Stern Hu, as part of today's proceedings, was
accused of receiving two amounts - two bribes - one amounting to one million Ren Min Bi and another
one relating to US$790,000. There were other matters covering the other accused but I'll only talk
about his matters today.

During the course of the trial, Mr Hu made some admissions concerning those two bribery amounts, so
he did acknowledge the truth of some of those bribery amounts. The trial is continuing of course
and will go on tomorrow and then again, there'll be a session on Wednesday.

Of course, I'm not in a position to make any kind of comment or give you some kind of evaluation of
the evidence as the trial is continuing and therefore, that's about all I have to say for you
today.

However, the Australian government will be making a considered statement about the trial at a later
time and we'll let you know when that will be.

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