Sunday, March 28, 2010

Stern Hu's admission

Word has been leaking out in drips and drabs all this week about the non-public trial of the four Rio Tinto executives I wrote about last weekend.

There has been no judgment yet, so far as I know, but Stern Hu is reported to have admitted accepting bribes. See Business Week's coverage here.

The prosecution has asked for leniency, so it would appear that Stern Hu's confession is part of a deal. It also seems that Stern Hu's case has outshined that of his co-defendants in the attention the matter is receiving, presiumably because he is the only one who is a citizen of another country (Australia), and thus his trial alone is a diplomatic issue.

What I would ask all to remember about this situation is that what looks like a bribe from one point of view looks a lot like the successful pay-off of extortion from another. Indeed, consider (just by way of hypothesis and clarification) the possibility of bribing a security guard at the border to get one's self and/or friends out of a country run by an oppressive regime.

Back to reality though: my understanding is that all four of the Rio Tinto defendants shall learn their fates on Monday -- and that it is also on Monday that Hu's wife Julie will be allowed to see him for the first time since his arrest in July 2009.

No comments: