The Department of Justice is investigating allegations that WSJ‘s Chinese bureau has bribed Chinese officials in exchange for information used in news articles, The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday. However, a search by the Dow Jones, WSJ‘s parent company found “no evidence to support the claim.”
“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,” Dow Jones spokeswoman Paula Keve said in a written statement.
The investigation was brought up in 2012 as part of the U.S. government’s probe into allegations of phone hacking in the U.K., which this article notes is nearing an end.
“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,” says the article.
According to the article, neither the Journal nor News Corp. know the identity of the whistleblower but News Corp. told the Justice Department that they suspect it could be an agent of the Chinese government in retaliation for WSJ‘s reporting on China. Although the Journal notes that they don’t know what evidence News Corp. higher ups have for that suspicion (and “reporters for this article couldn’t independently verify” the claim), the theory isn’t implausible, especially after The New York Times and other publications were targeted by hackers after reporting unfavorably on Chinese leadership.
Although the article is about the allegations of Chinese bribery, it goes into detail about the phone hacking trial against News Corp. and displays the awkwardness of reporting on one’s own publication–especially when your publication’s parent company is involved in a messy criminal trial.