£1.6bn wealth does not exist, says Chinese Premier Wen

Lawyers representing the family of the Premier, Wen Jiabao, have rejected claims made by The New York Times that they have accumulated at least $2.7bn (£1.6bn) in "hidden riches".

The newspaper, citing corporate and regulatory records, reported on Friday that the Premier's mother, siblings and children had amassed the majority of their wealth since Mr Wen was named Vice Premier in 1998.

Bai Tao of the Junhe Law Office and Wang Weidong of Grandall Law Firm claimed in a statement the wealth "does not exist".

They denied Mr Wen had acted improperly or engaged in business activities himself, and said his relatives had not profited from his tenure as Premier and had no influence on his "formulation and execution of policies". They added his mother had only received her salary and pension.