Alibaba headquarters in Hangzhou, China.

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Hong Kong-listed Alibaba shares closed about 1.7% lower on Tuesday – after earlier falling more than 9% – following unconfirmed rumors linking the company’s founder Jack Ma to a national security probe.

Chinese state media reported earlier in the morning that the Hangzhou Security Bureau took “criminal coercive measures” on April 25 against a person surnamed Ma on suspicion of using the Internet to endanger national security.

The state-backed tabloid Global Times reported separately, citing the Hangzhou Security Bureau, that the person under investigation is the director of the hardware research and development department of a technology company.

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

Subsequent state media updates revealed that the person had a first name with two Chinese characters instead of one. Jack…



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