The Wall Street Journal has revealed that last year the US Justice Department opened an investigation into a claim that employees in the newspaper’s China news bureau bribed Chinese officials for information.
If true, the Journal would be in violation of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which makes it illegal for US companies to give foreign government officials money or gifts to obtain or retain business.
It is unclear whether the investigation is continuing, The New York Times reported.
While the US government was investigating allegations of phone hacking and bribery at UK tabloids owned by the Journal's parent company last year, a whistleblower told the Justice Department that one or more Journal employees had given gifts to Chinese government officials in exchange for information, according to the Journal's own account.
The Journal launched its own investigation into the matter but did not find any evidence of bribery.
"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. Nor has anyone taken issue with our findings," Dow Jones said in a statement on Sunday, according to Reuters.
Company officials at the Journal said they suspect the informant’s allegations were part of a larger attack on the Journal while it was covering disgraced Chinese official Bo Xilai and the poisoning death of a British associate.
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"Our journalists, often working in the most difficult circumstances, will never be deterred from shining light on the darker recesses of Chinese society and politics,” Dow Jones Editor in Chief and Journal Managing Editor Gerard Baker said.