China frees ex-Rio Tinto executive jailed on corruption charges in 2010

Four Rio Tinto officials were convicted of stealing commercial secrets that helped Rio in iron ore negotiations with Chinese mills. (Reuters)
Updated 04 July 2018

China frees ex-Rio Tinto executive jailed on corruption charges in 2010

BEIJING/MELBOURNE: Stern Hu, the former head of Rio Tinto’s China iron ore business, has been released from a Shanghai prison, China’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday, after serving eight years in jail following a 2010 conviction for corruption and stealing commercial secrets.
Hu, an Australian citizen, was originally sentenced to 10 years in jail as tension flared between China, the world’s top user of iron ore, and its biggest supplier, Australia. Fired by Rio in the aftermath, Hu is expected to return to Australia just as relations between the two countries cool to a fresh chill.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a daily news briefing in Beijing that Hu had been released on Wednesday. Lu said that Hu had had his sentence reduced in accordance with the law, without saying where Hu currently was nor when he might return to Australia.
Canberra passed new laws aimed at curbing foreign interference in Australia last week, after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull blamed China for meddling in domestic affairs last year. China denies meddling and says Australia has a “Cold War mentality.”
The relationship between the two countries could deteriorate further if Australia bans Chinese telecommunications equipment maker Huawei Technologies Co. from participating in a soon-to-be-built 5G broadband network.
Hu was one of four defendants arrested by China and subsequently fired by Rio. The global miner conducted an internal audit but did not find any wrongdoing by the company itself.
The four were convicted of accepting bribes in return for helping private Chinese mills secure access to relatively low-cost and stable term iron ore from Rio. They were also convicted of stealing commercial secrets that helped Rio in iron ore negotiations with Chinese mills, in proceedings that were closed to media and Australian diplomats.
Hu’s sentencing raised questions in Australia at the time about China’s judicial process and business practices in the iron ore industry. “Stern Hu’s arrest and the conduct of the trial was certainly the first big event that led people to focus on the difficulties of greater economic integration with China,” said Malcolm Cook, non-resident fellow at Australian think tank Lowy Institute.


Getting more women into leadership positions top priority: CEO

This June 23, 2018 photo, shows a general view of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (AP)
Updated 18 January 2020

Getting more women into leadership positions top priority: CEO

  • Saudi Arabia is focusing on the Business 20 (B20), making this one of the key engagement groups. Women in Business will be Saudi Arabia’s signature topic

RIYADH: The boss of one of Saudi Arabia’s biggest banks says that getting more women into leadership positions is a top priority.
Samba CEO Rania Nashar chairs the action council for Women in Business created by the Business Twenty (B20), which is the official G20 dialogue with the business community. It represents the global business community across all G20 member states and all economic sectors.
She said the council was set up to boost women’s particpation not only in business but also in global leadership positions.
During the launch of the B20 in Saudi Arabia this week, Nashar highlighted the under-representation of women in the economy.
“There is a gap of 27 percent between male and female workers; 75 percent of males are part of the labor force while only 48 percent of females are working,” she said.
She said it was important not to just talk about women as workers but as business owners.

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Saudi Arabia will host the 15th G20 Summit in Riyadh on Nov. 21-22, 2020.

“That’s why entrepreneurship is very fundamental to our task force,” she said.  “The majority of the finance development programs have incentives for giving loans to females; however, despite the fact that many large borrowers are females, the amount of loans granted to them is far below what is granted to males,” she added.
Nashar said that two-thirds of female business founders feel that they were not taken seriously by investors when they pitch for investments. They also feel that they are treated differently from their male counterparts.
Saudi Arabia will host the 15th G20 Summit in Riyadh on Nov. 21-22, 2020. The Kingdom is focusing on the Business 20 (B20), making this one of the key engagement groups. Women in Business will be Saudi Arabia’s signature topic.