London: Britain's newspaper auditor on Thursday said it might investigate The Wall Street Journal's European circulation figures after a report in the Guardian accused it of propping up subscription numbers by effectively buying up its own papers.

The Wall Street Journal Europe's publisher, Andrew Langhoff, has already resigned over the paper's links to a Dutch consulting firm that the Guardian says was receiving payments and getting favorable press in return for buying up thousands of copies of the Journals' papers.

Journal publisher Dow Jones said its deal with the Netherlands-based Executive Learning Partnerships (ELP) had been approved by the Audit Bureau of Circulations, but on Thursday the bureau said "there now appears to be additional new information which may give grounds for further investigation."

The audit bureau is an industry body and does not confirm whether investigations are taking place unless they are completed and result in corrective action. Dow Jones declined to comment on the possibility of a new investigation.

When it announced Langhoff's departure on Tuesday, Dow Jones said its links to ELP "could give the impression that news coverage can be influenced by commercial relationships" and that Langhoff resigned because of a "perceived breach of editorial integrity", not because of alleged inflation of circulation figures.

(Agencies)