Arsenal have been left with faces as red as their shirts after it was revealed that their partnership deal with Chinese manufacturer BYD Auto was signed off by an alleged fraudster, unconnected to the company.
The club announced the partnership in a statement in April, boasting of the deal they had penned with ‘the world’s best-selling electric vehicle manufacturer’.
Just a few months down the line though, it appears the whole thing was just an elaborate hoax – with the Mail reporting that Li Juan, the suspected fraudster who Arsenal are believed to have signed the deal with, rented property in Shanghai to create the impression of having opened a branch of BYD in the city.
The Gunners have released a statement on their Chinese website, which reads: “BYD has informed Arsenal that they believe they have been the victim of a fraud in relation to various advertising agreements. This includes our partnership with BYD which was formally launched by both parties at an event at Emirates Stadium on 8th May.
“We are investigating the situation and discussing it with senior level BYD representatives who were involved in the launch of the partnership. We will make no further comments on this matter.”
Arsenal are not the only company to have been taken in by Li Juan, and BYD released a general statement on the Hong Kong stock exchange last week to address the matter.
It read: “Recently, BYD Company Limited noticed that some media published or reproduced false reports about the Company, which involved misinterpretation of the Statement on Conducting Related Businesses by Li Juan and Other Related Persons through Illegal Use of the Name of BYD released by the Company on 12 July 2018 and distortion of facts.
“Such reports caused the question to the Company from the public and negative impact on the Company, to some extent.
“Li Juan was suspected of committing a crime due to faking the identity of staff of BYD and using the forged seal to sign contracts, which BYD has reported to the police. The police are getting involved in the investigation and Li Juan currently has been taken for enforcement actions by the police.”
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