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Dow Jones investigates bribery allegations against WSJ China

The Dow Jones financial electronic ticker is seen at Times Square in New York July 17, 2012. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
The Dow Jones financial electronic ticker is seen at Times Square in New York July 17, 2012. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

(Reuters) - Dow Jones & Co said it found no sign of impropriety at its China operations, after the Wall Street Journal reported that a whistleblower had accused Journal employees of bribing Chinese officials for information.

The U.S. Department of Justice had asked Dow Jones to investigate the matter, as part of a wider probe into the 2011 British phone hacking scandal at its parent company, Rupert Mudoch's News Corp .

It is not clear if the DoJ is satisfied with Dow Jones' findings or if it is still looking into the allegations separately. A spokesperson for the DoJ could not immediately be reached for comment.

The Wall Street Journal reported on its website on Sunday that an unidentified informant had told the DoJ that Journal employees in China had given gifts to Chinese officials in exchange for information. The accusations related to the Journal's reporting activity in Chongqing, the power base of disgraced Chinese official Bo Xilai, according to WSJ.com.

News Corp said it does not know the identity of the informant, and has told the DOJ that some company officials suspected it was an agent of the Chinese government upset about the Journal's reporting on Chinese leadership, said the report.

"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 emailed to Reuters on Sunday.

"We are extremely proud of our important and impactful coverage coming out of China and regret that some unknown source has sought to taint that work."

News Corp is under investigation by U.S. and U.K. regulators over allegations that its now-defunct British tabloid, News of the World, had hacked phones and bribed public officials. Legal experts say News Corp could face scrutiny over whether it had violated the U.S. foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

"In regards to U.K. matters, we've delivered on our commitment to uncover wrongdoing and feel confident about the work we've done to put us on the right path, including sweeping changes to our global internal controls, compliance programs and ethics requirements," News Corp said in a statement on Sunday.

Dow Jones is a financial news and information provider that competes with Thomson Reuters Corp and Bloomberg LP.

(Reporting by Jennifer Saba and Nick Brown; Editing by Tiffany Wu, Bernard Orr)

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