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Rio Tinto employee seeks bail
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Detained Rio Tinto employee Wang Yong has applied for bail and the decision from Shanghai authorities could come as early as today.

Wang is among four Shanghai-based employees of the Australian iron giant who are awaiting trial on charges of stealing trade secrets and involvement in bribery.

The men are accused of selling information that Chinese authorities believe put its steel makers at a disadvantage in iron ore price talks with the world's second largest iron ore supplier.

"We are not at liberty to explain the details of a bail application for our client, given the sensitivity of the case. We are waiting for the authority's response to our request," Zhang Peihong, one of two lawyers representing Wang from Zhai Jian Law Firm, said yesterday.

Charged persons can apply for bail as they wait for their trial. If granted, they are usually released on conditions that restrict their freedom and require a guarantee of at least 1,000 yuan (US$146).

The decision to grant bail rests with the Shanghai public security bureau.

The three remaining suspects have not applied for bail and they remain in police custody in Shanghai.

Their lawyers said they are still considering whether to apply for bail and that the final decision will be made by their clients.

Lawyer Zhang Peihong also said investigations into the case may have no breakthroughs in the coming days and the lawyers will probably not meet with Wang again until next month.

After the disputes with Chinese steel makers, Rio Tinto executives said earlier that iron ore suppliers and China have broken off price talks and it is unclear when they will resume.

"At this point in time, we're not negotiating," Sam Walsh, chief executive of Rio's iron ore business, said last Friday in the western Australian city of Perth. He said talks might resume.

"I expect they will, but I don't know when," he said.

(China Daily September 8, 2009)

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