Zhang Yaqin, president of new business at Baidu, has been implicated in a New York State securities class action lawsuit filed against electric vehicles (EV) startup Nio for misleading statements, according to a filing by software company AsiaInfo Technology to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Monday.
Zhang happens to also serve as an independent non-executive director on AsiaInfo’s board of directors. He told the company that he has been named as one of the defendants in the class action lawsuit which was still “in a very preliminary stage”.
According to AsiaInfo’s filing, Zhang told the company he was entrusted by Baidu to serve as a director of Nio for about three months before the company’s initial public offering (IPO). Nio raised over USD 1 billion in its US IPO last September.
The class action complaint seen by KrASIA shows that the case has been filed to the Supreme Court of the State of New York County of Kings on March 14, hours before Baidu announced Zhang Yaqin’s planned retirement in October.
The class action was brought by the Rosen Law Firm on behalf of investors who have purchased Nio shares on or around NIO’s IPO on September 12, 2018.
The complaint accuses Nio of making “materially false or misleading statements” in its Registration Statement because the Chinese EV startup has since scrapped its plan to build its own manufacturing plant in Shanghai and failed to inform investors about the impact of government subsidy cuts on their EV sales.
Other defendants listed in the complaint include Nio executives who signed the company’s Registration Statement and its IPO underwriters, such as Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, J.P.Morgan, Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, UBS securities and WR Securities.
Editor: Nadine Freischlad
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