China's deadline for the founder of embattled LeEco to return home has passed, but Jia Yueting is still nowhere in sight -- at least, not in the country.
Jia won't be returning to China because he has to stay in the US to oversee and drive "many tasks" relating to the development of the FF91, but he has requested for his brother to meet the regulators last Friday, he said in a statement posted on Chinese Twitter-esque platform, , today. The FF91 is a luxury electric vehicle Jia is building with automotive startup, Faraday Future.
In a notice dated Dec. 25, the China Securities Regulatory Commission had ordered Jia as the former CEO and person controlling LeEco and its related companies to return to the country to settle a mounting debt crisis. A Chinese court seized almost $200,000 worth of his assets in the same week in response to a company that says Jia owes it over 200 million yuan.
The tweet comes a day after Jia's wife, Gan Wei, wrote on the same platform that she had returned to China on an "important mission." She later revealed she was helping to settle Jia's debt issues on his request.
Based in Beijing, LeEco was launched with huge ambitions for it to be able to rival Apple, Netflix and Tesla all at the same time, with Jia revealing his hopes for the company in a splashy event in October 2016. Things quickly took a turn for the worse, and as the company's financial problems became apparent, LeEco eventually had to lay off 325 people as well as retreat from a deal to buy TV maker Vizio. Jia stepped down from his role as the company's chairman last July, after which the co-founder of Chinese tech titan, Tencent, labelled the company a "Ponzi scheme."
In his statement, Jia blamed LeEco's financial problems on a late payment in July, which prompted the banking institution to freeze his assets as well as early loan recalls from many other financial organisations. He added that the problem was escalated by "false and malicious" reports from the media.
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