Lawyers for the Chinese premier Wen Jiabao and his family are disputing a New York Times article that claimed they had “hidden riches” which gave them an accumulated wealth of up to $2.7bn.

The ‘Times made the claims, citing detailed analysis of corporate and regulatory records, on Friday but a statement released by the family said that “The so-called ‘hidden riches’ of Wen Jiabao’s family members in the New York Times’ report does not exist.

“Some of Wen Jiabao’s family members have not engaged in business activities. Some were engaged in business activities, but they did not carry out any illegal business activity. They do not hold shares of any companies.”

A spokeswoman for the New York Times, Eileen Murphy, wrote an email that was published on the publication’s website: “We are standing by our story, which we are incredibly proud of and which is an example of the quality investigative journalism The Times is known for.”