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Alibaba Forced Out of IACC

The International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition (IACC), after coming under intense fire from its brand members, has suspended the membership of Alibaba Group.

It’s been a little more than a month since the Chinese e-commerce company joined the nonprofit, but in that time three major brands quit the coalition in protest—Michael Kors, Gucci America and Tiffany & Co.

Following the circulation last week of an anonymous letter expressing concerns about president Bob Barchiesi and the organization’s operations and governance, the IACC’s board of directors said Friday that it would suspend the memberships of Alibaba, and The RealReal, as well as the recently announced “general membership” category that those companies fell under.

“This will not affect our existing relationship or joint initiatives with them. We continue to stand by our inclusive approach to working with intermediaries,” the board wrote in a letter sent to its members.

News of the suspension followed last week’s announcement that the IACC and Alibaba would expand their MarketSafe program, first developed in 2013, to be open to both members and non-members, no matter their size.

“The IACC plays a vital role in stemming the growing problem of counterfeit goods and we are confident we will continue to offer cutting-edge programs in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy,” the letter continued.

The board also said it would hire an independent firm to review, develop and recommend the implementation of corporate governance measures, internal controls, policies, procedures and by-laws to ensure that they meet the highest standards and fit the current size and scope of the organization. This was in response to allegations made in the anonymous letter that Barchiesi had failed to share certain financial transactions and relationships with the board.

“This failure to disclose was not attributable to inaction on Bob’s part. We believe that Bob’s performance and accomplishments as president have been exemplary and he has the board’s full confidence and support,” the board noted.

The IACC’s annual spring conference is slated to take place May 18-20 in Orlando, Florida. Alibaba Group’s executive chairman, Jack Ma, is scheduled to be the keynote speaker.