Foreign Minister Bob Carr
Foreign Minister Bob Carr

Lawyer stopped in Mongolia

AN AUSTRALIAN lawyer trying to return to her home in Hong Kong has been stopped at a Mongolian airport as part of the country's investigation into corruption.

Sarah Armstrong, 32, was working in the region for SouthGobi Resources, a firm in which Rio Tinto holds a majority stake.

A spokesperson for Foreign Minister Bob Carr said Ms Armstrong was not in detention and had not been charged but had been asked to help with an investigation.

The Australian Consulate in the north-eastern province of Ulaanbaatar was now providing her with assistance.

He has also met with Mongolia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs to "reinforce the Australian Government's interest in her welfare".

Senator Carr's office was vague on the detail surrounding the case, but other media reported it related to the country's anti-corruption authority.

Perth newspaper the West Australian also published unnamed sources claiming her questioning by the government had been a retaliation for allegations Ms Armstrong made against Mongolian officials some months ago.

From Hong Kong, SouthGobi released a statement to say neither it nor any staff had been charged with wrongdoing.

It said it would co-operate with Mongolian authorities in the ongoing investigation.

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