Alibaba’s president Michael Evans is one of the 17 former Goldman Sachs directors being charged by Malaysia for their involvement in the 1MDB scandal.
Evans has been accused of misleading investors when arranging deals for Malaysia’s state fund 1MDB, which was at the centre of one of the biggest financial scandals in recent history.
He is credited with driving Alibaba’s growth into Southeast Asia and pushing through its landmark acquisition of Lazada, while overseeing the company’s current push into the US which it has promised will create 1 million jobs.
Now one of the most recognisable faces at the Chinese ecommerce giant, Evans faces a potential 10 years in prison and minimum fines of £200,000 if he is found guilty.
Malaysia has accused three Goldman Sachs units of misleading investors, one of which Evans served at as a director.
The state-owned investment fund 1MDB, designed to make Kuala Lumpur a new financial hub and boost the economy through strategic investments, was set up in 2009.
After attracting negative attention in 2015, the same year Evans joined Alibaba, for missing payments of £8.3 billion it owed to banks and bondholders, an investigation was launched.
Soon afterwards the US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that $4.5 billion had been diverted from the fund to private individuals pockets to buy everything from yachts to Van Gogh paintings.
“Mike Evans was a member of senior management at Goldman Sachs prior to joining Alibaba Group in 2015,” Alibaba stated.
“We are aware of the news and will continue to monitor the situation.”
Goldman Sachs also responded to the charges stating: “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.”