China executive admits Australia insider trading

A former vice president of Chinese company Hanlong Mining on Tuesday pleaded guilty in an Australian court to three charges of insider trading.

Calvin Zhu admitted making Aus$1.3 million (US$1.36 million) trading in shares while working for three different employers, including Hanlong, after acquiring inside information about proposed takeovers.

They included details related to Australian iron ore explorer Sundance Resources and uranium explorer Bannerman, which were both targets of Hanlong.

Australia's corporate regulator, which brought the charges, said the offences occurred between December 2006 and July 2011, and also related to when Zhu worked for Caliburn Partnership and Credit Suisse.

Zhu, who was granted bail on the condition that he surrender his passport, will be sentenced in the Supreme Court on September 7.

Allegations have also been made against Hanlong director Steven Hui Xiao, but he fled the country while on bail, leaving his wife behind.

Hanlong made a Aus$1.2 billion bid in July last year to take over Sundance, an iron ore, copper and gold miner with projects in central Africa, in which it already holds an 18.6 percent stake.

It was approved by Australian regulators in June this year after Hanlong sweetened its offer to Aus$1.65 billion.

The Chinese firm also made a $143.4 million play for Perth-based Bannerman, hoping to bag its Namibian uranium assets.

Beijing's interest in Australia's mining firms has sparked intense debate in the country over whether to allow Chinese state-owned entities to increase their control over its resources.

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