Shares of iron ore miner Rio Tinto slipped after a report came out accusing the company of espionage and a $100 billion swindle.
Recall that a Chinese firm tried to buy a stake in the miner but was rebuffed, and ever since then the firm has seen all kinds of headaches in the country — though of course China denies that the sequence of events is anything but coincidental.
Telegraph UK: An article published on a website controlled by the Chinese State Secrets Bureau also claimed that large amounts of “intelligence and data” had been found on Rio’s computers following the arrest of four Rio executives on spying charges last month.
The report on baomi.org, a publishing affiliate of China’s national secrets watchdog, accused Rio of “winning over and buying off, prying out intelligence… and gaining things by deceit” during critical annual negotiations over iron ore prices.
Meanwhile, the author of the report denies that this is an official government announcement:
Bloomberg: The author of an editorial linking Rio Tinto Group’s actions in China to 700 billion yuan ($102 billion) in excess charges for the steel industry said the article was his own opinion and used previously published data.
Jiang Ruqin, an employee with the Jiangsu Province Administration for the Protection of State Secrets, said he has no involvement in a legal case against four Rio employees detained last month, and that no “leaders” assigned him to write the essay or reviewed the piece before publication.
“I just wanted to write the article because this situation’s impact is really big, it affects the country’s economic security,” Jiang said in a telephone interview from Nanjing, the capital of eastern China’s Jiangsu Province. “We cadres who protect state secrets must speak up.”
As impenetrable as all this is, you have to find this intriguing. Accusatory “state secrets” websites, spying accusations, attempts by government firms to buy you out… the fun of doing business in China.
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