Ecommerce giant JD.com and Noah Holdings, one of China’s largest wealth management firms, have crossed swords in public over a fraud case, shedding light on the sometimes murky world of contractual disputes in the country.
JD.com accused Shanghai-based Noah and its subsidiary Gopher Asset Management of entangling it in “four years of malicious lawsuits” that have tarnished its reputation and led to huge losses, according to a statement published by the Beijing-based firm on its official account on microblogging service Weibo earlier this week.
The statement came days after the Shanghai Financial Court began a trial involving defendants including JD Century Trade Holdings, a JD.com unit, in a case brought by Gopher Asset Management four years ago over a contractual dispute.
The trial is linked to a years-long supply chain financing fraud fabricated by Camsing International, which used falsified contracts to secure funds amounting to 3.4bil yuan (RM2.22bil) from Gopher Asset Management.
Gopher has claimed that the underlying assets are backed by accounts receivables from the JD.com unit. However, JD.com has stated that all the documents were fabricated and JD.com was not involved in the transactions under dispute.
Camsing founder Ching Lo was sentenced to lifetime imprisonment last year after being convicted of contract fraud and bribery.
JD.com, which has denied any involvement in the forged contracts, said in its Monday statement that the suit brought against it by Noah’s asset management unit has misled investors and the public. It added that there has been at least 10 similar frauds at Noah, which have cost investors tens of billions of yuan.
Gopher issued a rebuttal the same day, expressing bafflement at the ecommerce giant’s “abrupt and emotional statement”, while calling on the company to refrain from any comments that could influence public emotion and the outcome of an ongoing trial.
Gopher also said that part of JD.com’s statement was inaccurate and that it would take legal measures to protect its legitimate rights.
Noah shares rose 4% to US$13.14 In New York on Monday, while JD.com shares fell 2.1% to US$26.59. – South China Morning Post