Jia YuetingEnlarge Photo
Despite being ordered to return to China by the country’s securities regulator, not to mention having his assets seized by the court system, embattled Chinese businessman Jia Yueting says he’s staying put in the United States in order to secure funding for electric car startup Faraday Future.
“I’m deeply sorry and I blame myself for the huge negative impact the debt crisis of LeEco has brought,” Jia said in message posted to a personal social media account in China on Tuesday, Bloomberg reports. “The financing of U.S.-based FF has made great progress and there is immense work that requires me to guarantee on-time mass production and delivery of FF 91 EV.”
This was Jia’s first announcement since the China Securities Regulatory Commission last week ordered his return to China to meet financial obligations promised to investors of the LeEco electronics and video streaming business. Days after the order was made, Beijing First Intermediate People’s Court seized a number of his assets, including shares in the holding company that controls LeEco.
In a statement issued by the holding company in October, the company said Yueting had promised in 2015 to make two interest-free loans payable in 10 years or more worth a combined $872.6 million, while his sister had agreed to make loans valued at $260.2 million. In a more recent statement, the company said it has not been able to find a solution for its debt issues.
Per Bloomberg, Jia in his social media post mentioned a single late payment in July as leading to the freezing of his assets and a series of early loan recalls. He also cited “false and malicious” reports that led to problems with creditors and suppliers.
However, Jia’s fall from grace can be traced all the way back to November 2016 when he came out with the statement that he was experiencing a cash crunch due to too rapid expansion of his various ventures. Since then his once successful LeEco business has generated a long list of creditors. Some have even taken to camping out in the lobby of LeEco's Beijing headquarters.
As for Faraday Future, the company has lost a number of top executives and is need of more funds to get production of the FF 91 off the ground. While there have been reports of reprieve at Faraday Future in the form of a $1 billion lifeline, apparently generated by Jia via equity financing, given his current troubles there is plenty of reason to doubt the funds will ever show up.