By Mattias Karen, Arsenal correspondent
Arsenal have been caught up in a suspected fraud involving one of its Chinese partners, electric carmaker BYD, with the company claiming that the person who signed a sponsorship deal with the club was not authorised to do so.
BYD signed a contract with Arsenal in April to become the club’s official car and bus partner, but that deal is among several that involved a person who is now being investigated by police in Shanghai.
BYD claims the person was never an employee of the company and was not authorised to sign contracts with advertising partners on its behalf.
Arsenal issued a statement on their Chinese website saying they are looking into the matter, while pointing out that “senior level BYD representatives” were involved in the deal.
“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,” the statement said.
“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.”
BYD issued a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange last week saying the seal used to stamp the unauthorised contracts must have been forged.