Report: Alibaba Group president among 17 under 1MDB criminal charges

Michael Evans reportedly left Goldman Sachs for Alibaba in 2015 and has since become a familiar face to the Chinese group’s investors. — Reuters pic
Michael Evans reportedly left Goldman Sachs for Alibaba in 2015 and has since become a familiar face to the Chinese group’s investors. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 10 — Michael Evans, the current president of Chinese tech giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, has been named by Putrajaya in a new filing of criminal charges over the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) financial scandal.

Business news wire service Bloomberg reported Evans to be one of 17 former and incumbent directors at three Goldman Sachs subsidiaries named by the Attorney General’s Chambers for allegedly misleading investors in arranging US$6.5 billion (RM27.2 billion) bond sales by 1MDB.

Evans reportedly left the US investment bank for Alibaba in 2015 and has since become a familiar face to the Chinese group’s investors after being made responsible for helping expand the digital commerce company founded by Jack Ma.

Evans is said to have played a pivotal role in orchestrating Alibaba’s push into the rest of Asia through the acquisition of a stake in Lazada and counts Malaysia as a key partner for its electronic world trading initiative. 

Evans is also overseeing Alibaba’s expansion in the US and Ma’s promise to President Donald Trump to create a million jobs, Bloomberg reported.

According to the news report, Evans faces custodial sentences and criminal fines in a case with international implications, with the United States alleging that of the US$8 billion (RM33.4 billion) raised by 1MDB from bond sales, more than half was misappropriated.

Attorney General Tommy Thomas yesterday announced the charges have been filed in court under the Malaysian Capital Markets and Services Act that holds certain senior executives responsible for any offences that may have been committed.

Bloomberg reported Alibaba Group saying in a statement that the company is aware of the charges and would continue to monitor the situation for further development.

In a separate emailed statement to Bloomberg, an unnamed Goldman Sachs spokesman said the investment bank believes the new charges, along with past filings against its three subsidiaries announced last December, are misdirected. It said it will challenge them in court.