Suspected fraud at China's BYD entangles London soccer club Arsenal

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Bloomberg
July 16, 2018 16:26 CET

BEIJING — BYD, the Chinese electric-car maker backed by Warren Buffett, asked the police to investigate a person who allegedly posed as an employee and signed unauthorized marketing contracts in the company’s name.

BYD said the person’s actions have damaged its reputation and harmed related parties. The person isn’t an employee or never has been, and BYD has never authorized the person to conduct business in its name, the Shenzhen-based company said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange Monday.

The company also said it reported to the police a forged company seal, which may have been used to stamp contracts that the person awarded. 

BYD and other makers of electric cars have been accelerating marketing efforts to help attract consumers in the world’s biggest market for such vehicles.

BYD signed up Leonardo DiCaprio to represent the company’s new-energy vehicles in 2016 and became the official global car and bus partner to English soccer club Arsenal in April. Arsenal said BYD informed the club that the deal was among those potentially affected by a fraud.

BYD, China’s biggest maker of new-energy vehicles, fell by as much as 5.1 percent in Hong Kong, the biggest intraday plunge since April 30.

BYD originally disclosed some details of the case last month, and on July 12 it said in a statement on Chinese social media that “with the deepening of understanding, BYD believes that this incident has a greater impact on the advertising media industry and will cause greater losses to related companies.”

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