Faraday Future’s early financier, Jia Yueting, and reportedly the company’s largest shareholder has been placed on China’s official “Blacklist” for credit defaulters. The 44-year old Chinese billionaire and technology entrepreneur who once had grand visions to become China’s Steve Jobs, and take on the likes of Tesla, Apple, and Netflix through various high-flying ventures, is finding himself in even deep waters, according to the New York Times.
China’s court in Beijing has added Jia’s name to its official database for debt defaulters, after the court ruled that he owed roughly $73 million (480 million yuan) to Ping An Securities, an investment arm of China’s second-largest insurer. Jia along with two executives of LeEco, a company that Jia also controls, are arguably the most famous names on the government list.
The public list at shixin.court.gov.cn is maintained by China’s top court. In speaking with local business entrepreneurs in Beijing, Teslarati learned that the list was created as part of a government effort to publicly shame individuals that have taken on debt, largely during the time when the country was fueled by massive investments into growth opportunities, yet unable to pay back these debts. The government database is also part of a “social credit system” that will eventually be used to assign “a citizen score” for individuals based on their spending habits, loan repayment and good behavior in public.
According to the Times,
“Citing Chinese laws, the court order says Mr. Jia cannot engage in ‘high spending’ or any spending ‘not necessary for living and working.’ The relevant law elaborates further, stating that people whose spending is restricted cannot travel first-class on planes or trains, spend at expensive hotels or golf courses, buy or build luxurious houses, purchase cars that are not necessary for business operations, travel for leisure or pay for their children to study at private schools.”
This latest development doesn’t bode well for the future of Jia’s Los Angeles-based electric car startup, Faraday Future, that’s seen its executive team disband.
Faraday Future’s Vice President of Design and one of the company’s “founding executives”, Richard Kim, resigned earlier this month. The resignation of a man who led the design for the company’s once-promising FF91 electric car was seen as a fatal blow for Faraday, and akin to Tesla’s Chief Designer, Franz von Holzhausen, departing.
Kim was one of three founding executives that departed Faraday Future in the last four months. Nick Sampson, SVP of R&D, and SVP Dag Reckhorn are the two remaining founding executives.