A Shanghai court has rejected the appeals of three former Rio Tinto employees against their sentences for corruption.

The report, from the Xinhua news agency, said the Higher People's Court of Shanghai threw out the pleas by Wang Yong, Ge Minqiang and Liu Caikui.

They, and an Australian citizen, Stern Hu, were convicted in March for commercial espionage and taking bribes.

They all pleaded guilty and were given sentences between seven and 14 years. Mr Hu did not appeal.

The trial found Mr Hu and the others guilty of taking millions of yuan in bribes and improperly obtaining commercial secrets from Chinese steel companies throughout these talks.

It said they then pushed up the price that China paid for iron ore imports.

The news agency report said: “The facts affirmed by the Shanghai No 1 Intermediate People's Court were clear, the convictions and the sentences were appropriate and trial procedures were legal.”