China releases Australian mining exec Stern Hu from prison

July 04, 2018 - 5:14 am

BEIJING (AP) — China's foreign ministry says Stern Hu, a former executive of the mining giant Rio Tinto, has been released from prison.

Hu, an Australian citizen, was released Wednesday. He was given a 10-year sentence in Shanghai after being convicted of accepting bribes and stealing trade secrets in 2010. The case strained relations between Australia and China, the former's largest trading partner.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said during a regular press briefing in Beijing that Hu's sentence was reduced.

Lu said Hu's "lawful rights and interests in accordance with law" were ensured during his prison sentence and that his sentence was "mitigated" because he also observed China's "laws, regulations and disciplines."

Hu led Rio Tinto's iron ore operations in China before he and three Chinese colleagues were arrested in 2009.

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