Alibaba executive detained over Tencent graft: firms

A senior Alibaba executive has been detained by authorities in a corruption case relating to his previous employer Tencent.
A senior Alibaba executive has been detained by authorities in a corruption case relating to his previous employer Tencent.PHOTO: REUTERS

SHANGHAI (AFP) - A senior Alibaba executive has been detained by authorities in a corruption case relating to his previous employer Tencent, the two Chinese technology giants said Friday.

The president of Alibaba's digital entertainment arm Patrick Liu had been held by police, Alibaba said.

"We understand that Patrick Liu with our digital entertainment unit has been detained by the authorities," the Internet firm said in a statement.

"This issue is related to his time at Tencent and has nothing to do with Alibaba."

Tencent, which operates messaging service WeChat, said in a statement Liu was among "five or six" former and current employees suspected of bribery and corruption uncovered during an internal audit.

At the time, Liu was general manager of Tencent's online video department.

Police had found Tencent employees colluded with video content providers to set higher purchase prices, Tencent said in an earlier statement, adding those involved had been detained by police.

A Tencent spokeswoman declined to comment on Friday.

New York-listed Alibaba is expanding beyond its core e-commerce business by seeking opportunities in entertainment and other areas.

Last year, Alibaba's digital entertainment business unit and US-based studio Lionsgate announced plans for a movie and television streaming service in mainland China.

Alibaba said in a Chinese language statement on its microblog that it would provide Liu, known as Liu Chunning in Chinese, with legal aid and support.