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Aug. 9 (NBD) -- The truth behind the advertising fraud case involving the Chinese electric car maker BYD remains a mystery. 

Li Juan, who was accused of illegally using BYD's name in business deals with domestic advertising firms, has been arrested by Shanghai authorities. Leo Chan, another key figure of the fraud and the man behind Li Juan, is yet to be surfaced. 

Materials obtained by NBD from Li's relatives show that Leo Chan is Li's superior and a secret shareholder of BYD, and he contacted Li via e-mail in March 2015 discussing about BYD's business. That was when Li began business related to BYD, and her contact was Leo Chan, some advertising agencies confirmed to NBD. 

It was thought that Leo Chan is Li's former colleague Chen Zhenyu at Shanghai Feng Cheng Property Management Company Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Shui On Land. 

However, in a previous media report, Chen Zhenyu said Li was one of his subordinates at Shui On, and they didn't have any contact since Li's resignation in 2010. Not only so, he stressed he has been engaging in the property business and has no connection with the advertising industry and BYD. 

When contacted by NBD, Chen said he went to Shanghai last weekend to cooperate with Shanghai police in investigating the case and has provided his personal information to the police. Moreover, he underscored he has no company under his name. 

A person surnamed Yuan with Qiansheng Media, an advertising agency involved in the case, told NBD that according to Li Juan's description, Leo Chan is from Hong Kong, and he is not tall but looks strong. Chan once sent Yuan an e-mail inviting Yuan to London. In the e-mail, Chan said Yuan can get the payment there and they can discuss some other business matters. Yuan flew to London but didn't get a chance to meet Chan and has lost contact with Chan since then. 

To get the newest progress of the case, NBD contacted Shanghai Public Security Bureau Pudong branch last week, but nothing new was told as the case is still under investigation. 

According to media reports, the fraud case involved nearly 30 advertising agencies and contracts signed were worth more than 1 billion yuan (146.4 million U.S. dollars). 

The outbreak of the fraud sounds the alarm for the entire advertising industry, and brings to reveal some of the industry's hidden rules like buying services on account. 

Gao Fei, partner of Shanghai Wenfeiyong Law Firm, told NBD that in economic activities, sellers shouldn't always pay out of their own pockets to get business as time is also a cost. When buyers face the difficulties in making payments, no matter what reasons they give, judiciary authorities should intervene and enhance law enforcement to maintain social and judicial credibility.  

 

Email: lansuying@nbd.com.cn