Chinese online retailer Alibaba has shut down 26 seller accounts on its Taobao platform. The sellers were found to have bribed Alibaba staff in exchange for favors, the company said in a letter to sellers and peers. The online retail giant said there was no “shortcut” or “rule of thumb” on its platforms. Honesty is the only path to gain credibility and increase sales.

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd Closes 26 Seller Accounts For Bribing Its Staff

Sellers offer money, gifts and other favors to Alibaba staff

The Hangzhou-based company forbids merchants from offering money, business opportunities or services to its staff in exchange for “illegal gains.” Alibaba said it would not accept any product or service from sellers violating the rule. Its employees were targets for merchants looking for shortcuts to gain more sales. That’s because these employees had the authority to adjust the merchants’ credit and customer feedback.

Alibaba staff also controlled sellers’ access to promotional activities. The e-commerce giant has set up a disciplinary unit to stop its employees from taking bribes, reports Want China Times. Alibaba published the names of sellers who bribed its employees and reported them to police. Despite the company’s efforts to crack down on such activities, some sellers still offer gifts, money and other favors to its staff.

Alibaba to punish the implicated staff

Alibaba said the sellers’ accounts have been shut down and implicated staff will be punished. Over the past few months, the company has taken a series of steps to curb illegal activities on its platforms, including the sale of fake goods, merchants bribing its employees, and misleading promotions. A large number of shady merchants operate on Taobao even without required licenses.

Illegal practices on Alibaba’s platforms came into limelight after the State Administration of Industry and Commerce (SAIC) issued a white paper criticizing the company for its failure to crack down on shady merchants and counterfeit goods. Alibaba CEO Jack Ma had assured the quality watchdog of stepping up efforts to fight fake listings.

Alibaba shares fell 1.07% to $82.85 in pre-market trading Thursday.