Anti-Counterfeiting group suspends Alibaba's membership

A logo of Alibaba Group is pictured at its headquarters in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China, October 14, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer/File photo

(Reuters) - An anti-counterfeiting group said on Friday it was suspending Alibaba Group Holding Inc’s membership following concerns raised by some of its member companies.

The International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition (IACC) statement follows an AP report that the group's president, Robert Barchiesi, had stock in Alibaba and that he used family members to help run the coalition. (

The group told its members that it failed to inform the board about conflicts of interest involving the Barchiesi.

In a letter sent to its members, IACC said conflicts were not disclosed to the board “because of a weakness in our corporate governance procedures.”

Alibaba has been accused by several brands, including Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, of being a giant conduit for counterfeiters.

Earlier this month, Alibaba said its online shopping platform Taobao was tightening controls on the sales of luxury goods, requiring sellers to show proof of authenticity, as it fights sales of fake items.

IACC, whose members include Apple Inc and Twenty-First Century Fox Inc, said it was suspending a new class of membership that included Alibaba and two other companies. Alibaba joined IACC in April.

“Whether or not we are a member of the IACC, we will continue our productive and results-oriented relationships with brands, governments, and all industry partners,” said Jennifer Kuperman, Alibaba’s head of international affairs.

Jack Ma, Alibaba’s founder, is scheduled to speak at IACC’s spring conference for 2016, IACC spokeswoman Marcia Horowitz said.

Reporting by Rishika Sadam in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva