US govt investigates Wall Street Journal over bribes-for-info in China: report

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The US Justice Department last year opened an investigation into allegations that employees at The Wall Street Journal's China news bureau bribed Chinese officials for information, the newspaper reported late Sunday.

But citing government and corporate officials familiar with the case, the paper said a search by the Journal's parent company found no evidence to support the claim.

According to the paper, the Justice Department approached News Corp.'s outside counsel in early 2012 and said it had received information from a person it described as a whistleblower, who claimed one or more Journal employees had provided gifts to Chinese government officials in exchange for information.

However, News Corp. has told the Justice Department that company officials suspected the informant was an agent of the Chinese government, seeking to disrupt the paper's work and possibly retaliate against the Journal for its reporting on China's leadership, the report said.

The company officials came to that view after finding no evidence of the alleged bribery and because of the timing and nature of the accusations, said The Journal, citing unnamed company officials.

"After a thorough review of our operations in China conducted by outside lawyers and auditors, we have not found any evidence of impropriety at Dow Jones," the paper quoted Ms Paula Keve, a spokeswoman for News Corp.'s Dow Jones unit, as saying in a written statement.

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