Associated Press Wire

Feb 11, 11:43 PM EST

Australian minister resigns for breaching code of conduct

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CANBERRA, Australia (AP) -- An embattled Australian government minister has resigned for breaching ministerial standards through a business trip to China, clearing the way for the prime minister to announce a final Cabinet reshuffle ahead of elections due this year.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Friday an investigation found Stuart Robert had breached the government's Code of Ministerial Standards through his 2014 trip to Beijing with a friend and donor to the ruling Liberal Party, Paul Marks. Marks made the trip to seal a mining deal between his company Nimrod Resources and Chinese government-owned Minmetals.

Minmetals' website said Robert, then assistant defense minister, spoke at the signing ceremony on behalf of the Australian Defense Department.

Robert said he went to China as a private citizen while on leave.

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