Faraday Future investor Evergrande Health now says the troubled startup is trying to back out of deal
Evergrande Health, the investor that bailed out besieged electric vehicle startup Faraday Future in a deal worth $2 billion this summer, is now accusing it of attempting to break an agreement it made with previous backer Season Smart. In June, Evergrande Health announced that would it take over the financial commitment made by Season Smart last November that saved Faraday Future from running out of cash. Now Evergrande Health says Faraday Future Jia Yueting has started arbitration in Hong Kong in an attempt to renege on its agreement with Season Smart.
Evergrande Health agreed in June to buy Season Smart’s 45% stake in Faraday Future for $860 million, an increase over the $800 million Season Smart originally paid, and then complete the deal with additional installments of $600 million in both 2019 and 2020.
But in a new filing with the Hong Kong stock exchange first reported by Reuters, Evergrande Health says it was informed in July by Faraday Future that the $800 million it received from Season Smart had already been spent, and that Smart King, the joint venture set up between Faraday Future and Season Smart, had been asked to provide another $700 million. As a result, Season Smart had entered into a supplemental agreement to advance $700 million.
Evergrande Health now accuses Faraday Future of “manipulating Smart King” by using its majority seats on Smart King’s board of directors to begin arbitration in Hong Kong claiming that Season Smart hasn’t fulfilled its payment conditions. Evergrande Health says Faraday Future is using this as a pretext to deprive Season Smart of its shareholder rights to approve Faraday Future’s future financing plans and terminate its agreements with Season Smart.
As a result, Season Smart has “engaged a team of international lawyers and will take all necessary actions” to protect its rights, as well as Evergrande Health’s interests.
Despite its deals with Season Smart and Evergrande Health, The Verge reports that Faraday Future’s financial woes have continued, with some of its company’s vendors and suppliers claiming that they have not been paid in weeks, and that Faraday is also contemplating layoffs. The Verge’s sources say at least three companies have filed liens with the California Secretary of State over payments owed by Faraday Future.
Meanwhile the company is facing a host of other legal and financial issues. These include a legal battle with its former CFO, Stefan Krause, who Faraday Future claims stole intellectual property (Krause has accused Faraday Future of defamation). Jia is also under fire over debts incurred by LeEco, the failed tech conglomerate he founded. The Chinese government froze his assets in 2017 and, in an unusual move, publicly ordered him to repay LeEco’s investors.
TechCrunch has contacted Faraday Future for comment.