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Rio Tinto Executives Plead Guilty to Bribery in China

Four mining executives on trial in Shanghai have pleaded guilty to taking bribes in a case that has raised international concern about doing business in China.

Lawyers for the executives from the Australian mining giant Rio Tinto told reporters outside the courtroom Monday that their clients admitted receiving bribes, but are challenging the amounts they are accused of accepting.

Australian Stern Hu and his Chinese colleagues Liu Caikui, Ge Minqiang and Wang Yong were arrested last July during negotiations with Chinese officials over the price of iron ore.

They are accused of obtaining inside information that helped Rio Tinto during the talks, and will face charges of corporate espionage in a separate, closed-door trial this week.

Australia has called for transparency in the case.

The trial has raised concerns among international investors about China's judicial system, which is not fully independent and does not always meet international standards.

China has said all four defendants will have their rights protected.

Rio Tinto chief executive Tom Albanese said Monday that the case is a "great concern" to the company. But he said he would respectfully await the outcome of the Chinese legal process.

Some information for this report provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.