Río Tinto acusado de soborno

Correa transportadora de mineral ferroso
Image caption Mineral ferroso

Rio Tinto executives accused of bribery

Four employees of the Rio Tinto mining company have been detained by Chinese authorities. According to reports in China's state media, they are accused of stealing state secrets and bribing employees of Chinese steel companies.

Reporter: Chris Hogg

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Stern Hu, an Australian who runs Rio Tinto's operations in Shanghai was the lead negotatior in the mining company's annual talks with Chinese steel makers over iron ore prices. China is the world's largest consumer of iron ore.

This year the negotiators failed to meet a deadline on June 30th to agree what's known as the benchmark price for supplies from Rio Tinto and the other big companies. The statement from the Shanghai office of the National Security Agency says Mr Hu and his colleagues used improper methods, including bribery,to obtain material from Chinese negotiators during the talks, according to media reports here.

Rio Tinto has denied that its employees were involved in spying. Australian diplomats say they've now been given permission to visit Mr Hu for the first time since he was detained on Monday. The country's foreign minister, Stephen Smith, says he's been given assurances by the Chinese the mining executive is being treated well.

Chris Hogg, BBC

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detained detenido

given assurances dieron garantías