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LeEco’s founder defies order to return to China

By Fan Feifei | | Updated: 2018-01-02 17:29
Jia Yueting, founder of LeEco, poses for a photo at LeEco headquarters in Beijing, April 22, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]

Jia Yueting, the founder of debt-laden internet company LeEco, had defied orders from Chinese securities regulator to return to the country before the end of 2017, claiming he had to stay in the United States as a fundraising for US-based electric car startup backed by Jia was making great progress.

Jia said in a statement that he had asked his brother, Jia Yuemin, and his wife, Gan Wei, to represent him at LeEco's listed arm -- Leshi Internet Information & Technology Corp in exercising shareholder rights and handling the sale of assets, and promised to the society that he will do his duty on the debt issue.

"I feel deeply guilty and blame myself for the negative impact of LeEco's debt crisis on society, government, investor, supplier and employee," he said in the statement that was posted on his official WecChat account on Tuesday.

Jia said the fundraising for Faraday Future, the US-based electric car company has made significant progress and there are many tasks he needs to take to ensure the mass production and timely delivery of the FF 91.

The Beijing branch of the China Securities Regulatory Commission said in a notice last week that Jia must return to the country before Dec 31 to "fulfill his obligations" and protect investors' rights.

Jia’s wife landed in Beijing on New Year’s Eve, posting messages on her Weibo account from the airport, and saying that she was back with a mission.

In July, Jia resigned from all his positions at Leshi after having a majority of his shares in Leshi were frozen by a local court due to unpaid debt. Last month, Jia was placed on a national list of defaulters, a move taken by Chinese courts to put pressure on people and entities to repay debts.

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