HONG KONG, Nov 14 (Reuters) - An investigation by U.S. authorities into JPMorgan's hiring practices in China involves a business relationship between the Wall Street bank and a consultancy firm run by the daughter of China's former premier, The New York Times reported on Thursday.
Citing documents, public filings and interviews, the newspaper said JPMorgan had a contract with a consultancy run by Lily Chang, and which appeared to have only one other employee, and paid the firm $75,000 a month. The paper said Chang is the alias of Wen Ruchun, the only daughter of Wen Jiabao, who was China's premier, with oversight of financial institutions, at the time the contract was agreed.
JPMorgan's ties to Wen's daughter are part of a wider bribery investigation by U.S. authorities into whether the bank swapped contracts and jobs in order to win business deals, the paper said. News of that probe into JPMorgan's hiring in China first broke in August. The New York Times was first to report the nature of the investigation, later confirmed by Reuters.
In its August report, The New York Times said two of the bank's hires under investigation were of the son of the head of a state-run financial conglomerate, and the daughter of a former Chinese railway official.
In its report on Thursday, the paper said Wen Ruchun's consulting firm, Fullmark Consultants, earned $1.8 million from JPMorgan between 2006-08.
A spokeswoman for JPMorgan in Hong Kong said on Thursday that the bank is "cooperating fully with regulators". She declined to comment further, but referred to the bank's quarterly regulatory filing in which it disclosed that the Securities and Exchange Commission had asked the bank for information about Hong Kong employees and their business relationships with certain clients.
Reuters was not immediately able to reach Wen Ruchun for comment.