Arsenal were duped to pen a car deal by a person who purported to be a representative of Chinese car maker BYD Auto.
In April the London based giants revealed the deal with “the world’s best-selling electric vehicle manufacturer.”
But four months later it has emerged it was a scam – leaving the club’s bosses with an egg on their faces.
It turned out Li Juan, the alleged fraudster, who acted on behalf of BYD Auto, was not an employee of the company.
Li is currently under probe by Shanghai Police.
Arsenal had disclosed that the partnership “came to fruition following our successful preseason tour to Shanghai and Beijing in 2017.”
As part of the package, BYD would receive “pitchside LED signage” and “branding on dugout seats at the Emirates Stadium.
It also had access to Arsenal Legends for promotional events in China.
BYD claimed foul play in a statement.
It said: “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 is getting involved in the investigation and Li Juan currently has been taken for enforcement actions by the police.”
A spokesman for Arsenal said: “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.”
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