It is not known whether Ms. Wen's father, Wen Jiabao, played any role in that deal. But as prime minister, he would have had ultimate responsibility for state-owned companies and their regulators.
Efforts to reach Ms. Wen and other members of her family were unsuccessful.
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A spokesman for JPMorgan declined to comment. In a previous regulatory filing, the bank disclosed that authorities were examining "its business relationships with certain related clients in the Asia Pacific region and its engagement of consultants."
Executives at JPMorgan's headquarters in New York did not appear to be involved in retaining Fullmark, a decision that seemed to have fallen to executives in Hong Kong. And the documents reviewed by The Times do not identify a concrete link between the bank's decision to hire children of Chinese officials and its ability to secure coveted business deals, a connection that authorities would probably need to demonstrate that the bank violated anti-bribery laws.
The Securities and Exchange Commission and the United States attorney's office in Brooklyn, which are leading the investigation, both declined to comment on the case.
Underpinning their investigation is the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which effectively bars United States companies from giving "anything of value" to foreign officials to obtain "an improper advantage" in retaining business. In recent years, the S.E.C. and the Justice Department have stepped up their enforcement of the 1977 law, which is violated if a company acts with "corrupt" intent, or with an expectation of offering a job in exchange for government business.
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It is unclear whether JPMorgan ever had such an upfront agreement. But the bank did briefly keep a document that tied some of its well-connected hires in China to revenue it earned from deals with Chinese state-owned companies, according to interviews and records that JPMorgan turned over to federal authorities.
The investigation comes at a difficult time for the bank, which is already under scrutiny from a number of agencies in Washington and abroad. JPMorgan recently reached a tentative deal with the Justice Department to pay a record $13 billion over its sale of troubled mortgage securities. It is also facing an investigation into its role as Bernard L. Madoff's primary bank. The bribery investigation could take years. The S.E.C. and prosecutors have expanded their focus to other Asian countries, including Singapore and South Korea, looking at whether hiring practices that have become commonplace on Wall Street crossed a line at JPMorgan.
For the last two decades, Wall Street banks and multinational corporations operating in China have sought out so-called princelings as employees, consultants or partners in major Chinese business deals. Many banks talk freely about the ability of princelings to open doors and offer insights into government policies and regulations.
In 2006, JPMorgan established a program, called Sons and Daughters, according to interviews with people in New York and China, to have better control over such hires. But documents that the bank turned over to investigators showed that there were less stringent hiring standards for applicants from prominent Chinese families.
The children of China's ruling elite, according to experts, have occasionally used government-approved aliases to protect their privacy while studying or traveling abroad. Ms. Wen used her alias for both schooling and business. According to government records, Ms. Wen holds two national identity cards with matching birth dates, one issued in Beijing under the name Wen Ruchun and a second issued in the northeastern city of Dalian, as Chang Lily.
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Lily Chang was the name she used while studying for an M.B.A. at the University of Delaware, where she graduated in 1998, and also when she lived in Trump Place, the luxury apartment complex overlooking the Hudson River in Manhattan, according to public and university records.
Like the children of other senior Chinese leaders, she was courted by Wall Street. After securing her M.B.A., regulatory records show, she worked at Lehman Brothers and later Credit Suisse First Boston as Lily Chang. Separately, she held a stake in several private companies.Ms. Wen's work for JPMorgan was tied to her company, Fullmark Consulting. According to the documents reviewed by The Times, Fullmark was located on the ninth floor of Tower C2 at Oriental Plaza, a high-end retail and office complex in central Beijing.