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Mongolian ex-finance minister under corruption probe granted bail

Staff Writer | January 30, 2019
Former Mongolian Finance Minister Sangajav Bayartsogt held in custody since mid-January for alleged corruption was granted bail, local media reported Wednesday, citing judicial authorities.
Oyu Tolgoi mine
Asia   Oyu Tolgoi mine
A request made by an attorney of Bayartsogt for him to be released on bail was received by a court in Sukhbaatar district in the Mongolian capital of Ulan Bator on Tuesday evening.

This is the second time that Bayartsogt was granted bail. In June, Bayartsogt was freed on bail after he had been held in investigative custody for almost two months.

In 2009, Bayartsogt signed the agreement on behalf of the Mongolian government with Canada's Ivanhoe Mines on developing the Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine, granting a 66-percent controlling stake to the company, which later changed its name to Turquoise Hill Resources and is now majority owned by Australian-British mining giant Rio Tinto.

In early 2018, the Independent Agency Against Corruption, Mongolia's top anti-corruption body, started the probe into the deal, and accused Bayartsogt of using his influence and position to provide foreign parties of the agreement with an advantage in negotiations.

The Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine, located in the South Gobi Desert of Mongolia, is expected to produce an average of 430,000 tons of copper and 425,000 ounces (about 12,050 kg) of gold annually for 20 years.