Employees at The Wall Street Journal’s China news bureau bribed officials for information for news articles, it has emerged.
The Justice Department last year opened an investigation into allegations that employees at US-based paper bribed Chinese officials.
A search by the Journal's parent company, however, found no evidence to support the claim.
According to people familiar with the case, the US government, meanwhile, is nearing the end of a broader investigation of the Journal's owner News Corp stemming from allegations of phone hacking and bribery at UK tabloids, among other issues.
During the course of that broader probe, 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, according to people familiar with the case, the Wall Street Journal reports.
News Corp. and the Journal don't know the identity of the informant, the paper said.
According to US and corporate officials, News Corp. has told the Justice Department that some company officials suspect the informant was an agent of the Chinese government, seeking to disrupt and possibly retaliate against the Journal for its reporting on China's leadership, it added.
People familiar with the matter have revealed that the allegations of gifts in China went beyond the typical meals or drinks shared by reporters and officials and included lavish entertainment and travel.
According to the paper, if the Chinese bribery allegations were true, such behavior would be a potential violation of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
The law makes it illegal for companies with sizable American operations to offer money or gifts to foreign-government officials to gain a business advantage.
Washington: Employees at The Wall Street Journal’s China news bureau faced investigation for allegedly bribing officials for gaining information, it has emerged.
First Published: Monday, March 18, 2013, 14:33