China's top anti-corruption agency says it is in talks with the United States over a highly connected businessman who fled China, possibly bearing politically sensitive information.

The statement by an agency spokesman at a news conference on Friday is the first official acknowledgment of China's interest in Ling Wancheng, whose brother was a top aide to former Chinese President Hu Jintao before being arrested on corruption charges.

Ling is believed to have sensitive information about China's leadership and could deliver an intelligence windfall should he defect.

The New York Times reported last year that the Obama administration has rebuffed Chinese requests for Ling's repatriation and has warned China about covert agents seeking his whereabouts on U.S. soil.

His brother, Ling Jihua, has not been tried.