MARCH 26, 2010

BY JOHN R. EMSHWILLER

LOS ANGELES—-Federal criminal investigators are looking into possible wrongdoing involving investment transactions of public pension funds including Calpers, according to people familiar with the matter.

Justice Department investigators in Los Angeles have been looking at whether potentially illegal payments were made to influence decisions on where to invest public pension-fund money, these people said. Among the matters being examined, they said, are investments made by the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the nation’s biggest public pension fund by assets.

The Calpers-related inquiries are focused on a small number of individuals, said one of the people.