Justice Department probed whether the Wall Street Journal bribed Chinese officials

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The US government opened a probe last year into whether the Wall Street Journal bribed Chinese officials for information—although the newspaper’s own investigation found no evidence to support the claim, the Wall Street Journal reports today.

During a broader investigation into charges of phone hacking at News Corp., the Journal’s parent company, Justice Department officials came upon a whistleblower “who claimed one or more Journal employees had provided gifts to Chinese government officials in exchange for information…” The names of the informant or the alleged bribers were not disclosed.

Such transactions would be in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits American companies to gain business advantage by giving gifts or money to government officials overseas. Quartz’s Tim Fernholz has been writing quite a bit about FCPA and the various loopholes companies have been using to get around it.

In a statement, Wall Street Journal managing editor Gerard Baker said: “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.”

You can read the Journal’s story here.