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Four Rio Tinto executives pleaded guilty in Shanghai court Monday to taking bribes. They are Stern Hu, an Australian executive, and three Chinese coworkers, Liu Caikui, Ge Minqiang and Wang Yong. Previously they had denied the allegations. In a closed court session Tuesday, they faced charges of stealing commercial secrets. Since they were formally arrested in August 2009, China has not revealed details of the allegations, but the AP reports that the charges may be connected to Rio Tinto’s pricing negotiations with state-owned steel mills, which fell apart last year shortly before the arrests.

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