25 Dec 2012

Australian lawyer on way home from Mongolia

12:01 pm on 25 December 2012

An Australian lawyer is on her way home from Mongolia after being held as a suspect in a corruption case there for two months.

Sarah Armstrong, 32, was stopped at Ulan Bator airport in mid-October.

On Christmas Eve, the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade confirmed she had boarded a flight out of the country, which had taken off.

Yvonne Armstrong of Tasmania told AAP on Monday she got the news about her daughter via text message from a friend in Mongolia.

Mrs Armstrong said her daughter had told her on Friday that she thought she would be allowed to leave within days, but she had been trying not to get her hopes up.

AAP reports Foreign Minister Bob Carr again contacted the Mongolian ambassador to Australia on Friday about Ms Armstrong's case.

Senator Carr also met the Mongolian foreign minister in November.

Ms Armstrong is a lawyer for SouthGobi Resources, a Rio Tinto mining subsidiary.

In a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange, the company on Monday said the Independent Authority Against Corruption in Mongolia had ended its questioning of her.

SouthGobi said Ms Armstrong was no longer a suspect.

In a statement on Monday, Senator Carr said:

"I thank the Mongolian government and particularly Foreign Minister (Luvsanvandan) Bold for their willingness to resolve this matter.

"I also applaud our consular staff, who worked tirelessly in making representations on Ms Armstrong's behalf."