Alibaba president among others charged over 1MDB scandal

Photo: Bloomberg

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. President Michael Evans is among 17 current and former Goldman Sachs directors facing criminal charges over their alleged role in $6.5 billion of bond sales by 1MDB.

Evans, the international face of China’s e-commerce leader, was among a group of individuals who served as directors at three Goldman units Malaysia accused of misleading investors when arranging deals for 1MDB. The Alibaba honcho is a familiar face to the Chinese internet titan’s investors and a fixture in the media as well as international conference circuit, and is charged with helping helm Alibaba’s global expansion.

Evans, who joined Alibaba in 2015 as one of its highest-profile recent hires, has a mandate to help realize billionaire co-founder Jack Ma’s ambition to get half its revenue from outside of China. The president helped orchestrate the Chinese giant’s push into Southeast Asia through the acquisition of a stake in Lazada, establishing its largest overseas beach-head. The company is expanding into Malaysia and counts the country in particular as a key partner for its so-called E-WTP or electronic world trading initiative. Evans is also overseeing Alibaba.com’s expansion in the U.S. and Ma’s promise to President Donald Trump to create a million jobs.

The executive, like others charged, now faces custodial sentences and criminal fines in a case with global ramifications. Supposed to promote development, Malaysian state-owned investment fund 1MDB has spurred criminal and regulatory investigations around the world that cast an unflattering spotlight on deal-making, election spending and political patronage under former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. Of $8 billion that 1MDB raised via bond sales, the U.S. alleges more than half was siphoned off.

Malaysia will seek custodial sentences and criminal fines against the individuals, Attorney-General Tommy Thomas said in a statement Friday. The penalties sought reflect “the severity of the scheme to defraud and fraudulent misappropriation of billions in bond proceeds, the lengthy period over which the offenses were planned and executed,” as well as the breadth of Goldman units and officers involved in arranging the 1MDB bonds.

“We believe the charges announced today, along with those against three Goldman Sachs entities announced in December last year, are misdirected and will be vigorously defended,” a Goldman Sachs spokesman said by email.

Bloomberg

Singapore Reporter/s

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Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.