Former Baidu executive suspected of corruption

Beijing (AFP) –


A former executive at China's internet search giant Baidu is being investigated for corruption, the company said Wednesday.

Ex-Baidu vice president Wei Fang is under suspicion of corruption following internal investigations, and his case has been handed over to public authorities, said the firm's professional ethics committee in a statement to AFP.

Baidu vowed it would "resolutely crack down on all violations of law and discipline", but did not give further details of Wei's alleged wrongdoing.

The case comes just weeks after it was revealed that a top executive at Starbucks competitor Luckin Coffee might have faked 2.2 billion yuan ($310 million) worth of sales last year, causing the shares of the NASDAQ-listed firm to plummet over 70 percent.

The former chief operating officer and several staff members at Luckin Coffee -- which debuted on Wall Street in May 2019 -- have been suspended pending an internal investigation.

The company also apologised.

On Wednesday, an official at the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission called the alleged Luckin fraud a "harsh lesson", adding it would maintain a "zero tolerance" attitude towards such behaviour.

Following the coffee retailer's bombshell announcement, issues involving other US-listed Chinese firms have sprung up.

Tuition services provider TAL Education Group, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, revealed on April 7 that a staff member was taken into custody by police following suspicions of wrongly inflating sales via forgery.