March 24th, 2010
12:44 PM GMT
The trial of four Rio Tinto employees charged with bribery and stealing commercial secrets ended in Shanghai Wednesday, but it was unclear when a verdict would be reached.
The bribery trial took place in this Shanghai courtroom.
Charged in the case are Stern Hu, an Australian citizen of Chinese origin who was the general manager of Rio Tinto's Shanghai office. Hu has been in detention for nine months, along with Rio Tinto's three Chinese employees - Liu Caikui, Ge Minqiang and Wang Yong. They are accused of taking bribes and stealing commercial secrets.
Rio Tinto, a British-Australian company, is one of the largest mining companies in the world. The case has raised fears of a government crackdown on foreign companies doing business in China.
The three-day trial was closed to foreign news organizations, hindering independent confirmation of developments. At the end of the first day of the trial on Monday, Zhai Jian - the lawyer for another defendant - said his client acknowledged receiving money, but said it was a gift or a loan - not a bribe.
In another case, the U.S. Justice Department charged Daimler with widespread violation of bribery laws over the course of a decade.
According to the documents, Daimler paid bribes to foreign officials in at least 22 countries between 1998 and 2008.
The documents described how the company tried to lure officials with everything from cash to job opportunities.
We'd like to know what you think.
When is a gift considered a bribe? Is bribery a natural part of doing business? What should happen to officials charged with bribery?