U.S. federal prosecutors are conducting a criminal probe into whether Goldman Sachs Group Inc or its employees committed securities fraud in connection with its mortgage trading, the Wall Street Journal reported on its website on Thursday.

A spokeswoman for the office of the Manhattan U.S. Attorney said she could neither confirm nor deny any Goldman investigation. Goldman was not available to comment.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has already filed a civil fraud lawsuit against Goldman, charging that it hid vital information from investors about a mortgage-related security.

(Reporting by Martinne Geller; Additional reporting by Wayne Cole in Sydney, Grant McCool and Steve Eder in New York)