Australia jails ex-China mining boss for insider trading

An Australian court jailed a former boss of a scandal-hit Chinese mining firm Friday for eight years over insider trading, in a major insider trading prosecution for the country.

Xiao Hui, also known as Steven Xiao, pleaded guilty last year after he was extradited from Hong Kong to Australia, from where he fled while on bail, in 2014.

The three charges included one involving 102 illegal trades relating to planned investments in Australian-listed companies, Sundance Resources and Bannerman Resources, when Xiao was managing director of Hanlong.

A former vice president of Hanlong, Zhu Bo Shi, also known as Calvin Zhu, was in 2013 sentenced to more than two years in prison as part of ASIC's investigation into the insider-trading allegations.

Xiao's sentence demonstrated the seriousness of insider trading, Cathie Armour, a commissioner at the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC), told reporters in Sydney Friday.

"Maintaining confidence in the integrity of our financial markets is vital for everyone.... my message to anyone considering insider trading is this: 'ASIC will find you,'" she said.

"We will find insider traders and we will prosecute them." Armour said the overall value of the trades was approximately A$2.3 million (S$2.37 million), with a profit of A$1.7 million.

Hanlong, based in China's southwestern province of Sichuan, launched a takeover bid of Aus$1.3 billion for listed Australian iron ore firm Sundance in 2011. The deal collapsed in 2013 after the Chinese firm failed to follow through.

Hanlong's chief, Liu Han, was executed in China last year for "organising and leading a mafia-style group", murder and other crimes.

Xiao was sentenced to eight years and three months behind bars in the New South Wales Supreme Court, commencing January 12, 2014.

A non-parole period of five years and six months means he will be eligible for release from July 11, 2019 at the earliest.