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Anti-Counterfeiting Group Suspends China's Alibaba

FILE - The Alibaba logo is displayed at the New York Stock Exchange.
FILE - The Alibaba logo is displayed at the New York Stock Exchange.

An anti-counterfeiting group on Friday suspended e-commerce giant Alibaba from its group after backlash from member companies that see the Chinese firm as the world's largest marketplace for fakes.

In recent weeks Gucci America, Michael Kors and Tiffany have quit the U.S.-based International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition (IACC) over Alibaba's presence among the group's ranks.

The IACC also acknowledged conflicts of interest, admitting it failed to disclose to its board connections between Alibaba and the coalition’s president, Robert Barchiesi.

Earlier in the day, The Associated Press reported that Barchiesi had stock in Alibaba, had close ties to an Alibaba executive and had used family members to help run the coalition.

The coalition said it would hire an independent firm to review its corporate government policies.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Alibaba’s China marketplaces handled $485 billion in merchandise volume in the financial year ended March 31, which analysts estimated was more than Amazon and eBay combined.

Critics of the Chinese firm say Alibaba's sites are rife with fakes, which damage production companies' bottom lines, can harm consumers who unknowingly buy such products, and feed a vast underground money-laundering industry that supports criminal syndicates.

"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 corporate affairs.