Alibaba shares fall after unconfirmed rumors linking Jack Ma to investigation

Alibaba headquarters in Hangzhou, China.

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Hong Kong-listed shares of Alibaba were down about 1% on Tuesday – after earlier falling more than 9% – following unconfirmed rumors that linked company founder Jack Ma to an investigation by national security.

Chinese state media reported earlier this morning that the Hangzhou Security Bureau took “coercive criminal action” on April 25 against an individual with the surname Ma, suspected of use the Internet to endanger national security.

CNBC was unable to confirm the Chinese report. Alibaba and the Jack Ma Foundation did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Later state media updates said the person had a first name with two Chinese characters, instead of one. Jack Ma’s given name in Chinese has only one character.

These “coercive measures” can include detention, arrest or release on bail. The security office is also investigating the case, state media said.

Jack Ma resigned from Alibaba’s board in 2020 and no longer has executive responsibilities, the company said in a July 2021 statement.

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