WASHINGTON -- The government is denying a report that it is investigating some of the biggest brokerage firms in the country for money-laundering violations.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Sept. 21 that Merrill Lynch & Co., Dean Witter Discover Inc., Prudential Securities Inc., Paine Webber Group Inc., and Bear Stearns & Co. are being investigated by the U.S. Customs Service and the Internal Revenue Service for illegal activity involving wire transfers.

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