China's state-owned Chinalco, Rio Tinto's single largest shareholder, said on Friday that the arrest of four Rio Tinto staff on spying charges was not related to commercial dealings between the two companies after a huge deal collapsed last month.
AFP - China's Chinalco on Friday said the detention of four Rio Tinto staff accused of spying in Shanghai was not linked to the collapse of a huge deal between the companies.
Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto last month walked away from a 19.5 billion US dollar cash injection from the state-owned Chinalco, which would have been China's biggest ever foreign investment.
"Chinalco has been in contact with Rio Tinto expressing our mutual concern for the current situation with their staff," a spokesperson said in a statement released here.
"We have also reasserted that the situation is in no way related to any commercial dealings between Rio and Chinalco."
Four Rio Tinto staff, including Australian passport-holder Stern Hu, were detained on Sunday by China's anti-spy agency and accused of espionage and stealing state secrets.
The arrests came just a month after the failure of the Chinalco deal, and also as Rio pursues difficult iron ore contract talks with Chinese negotiators.
Chinalco also scotched reports that company president Lu Youqing had criticised Rio in the wake of the deal's failure.
"These comments were incorrectly reported and do not reflect the company's view," the spokesperson said.
Date created : 2009-07-10