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Jia Yueting fails to keep promise of returning to deal with LeEco debts

(Global Times)    08:10, January 02, 2018

On the last day of 2017, Jia Yueting, founder of debt-laden technology company LeEco, failed to keep his promise of "returning to China soon."

Jia's wife, Gan Wei, landed in Beijing on Sunday morning, posting on her Weibo account that she was back "with a mission."

China Securities Journal recently reported that Jia announced at a Faraday Future internal meeting in the US that the company managed to get more than $1 billion.

However, auto news outlet reported that on December 25, Petroleum Authority of Thailand denied the report that the company is the investor in FF's A-round fundraising.

Jia was ordered by the China Securities Regulatory Commission's (CSRC) Beijing branch to return to the country by the end of December and deal with the company's debt. In an unusual public letter posted on December 25 that the CSRC said the failure to repay debt is "a serious violation of the legal rights and interests of listed companies and interests of investors, with an extremely negative social impact."

LeEco's expansion failed to take off, and as pressure from lenders mounted, in July Jia resigned as chairman of Leshi Internet Information &Technology Corp, the listed arm of LeEco, after promising on his social media accounts to repay LeEco's debts.

The CSRC said that starting in September, it had sent letters to Jia asking him to return to China, but "so far we have not seen any actions taken [by Jia]."

In December, Jia was placed on China's official list of debt defaulters after he failed to pay back more than 462 million yuan ($71 million) to Ping An Securities Group.

Online media platform reported that LeEco's Hong Kong branch, which provided on demand service for Hong Kong residents, had filed a petition with the local high court to begin liquidation.

"Only criminal crime is regarded as related to repatriation of international cooperation, and the Leshi incident has not yet been upgraded to a criminal one," Wang Zhibin, a partner with Shanghai Bright &Young Law Firm, told the Global Times on Monday.

The notice from the CSRC's Beijing branch is a regulatory measure, meaning the regulator has no compulsory method to make Jia return if he doesn't do so by the deadline, said Xu Hao, a lawyer at the Beijing-based Jingsh Law Firm.

The addition of Jia to China's national blacklist of "discredited" people by Beijing's No.3 Intermediate People's Court on December 12 was a civil action, Xu told the Global Times on Monday, which is also not sufficient to compel his return.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Liang Jun, Bianji)

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