China’s Securities Regulatory Commission has ordered Jia Yueting, founder of heavily indebted Chinese tech firms LeEco and Leshi as well as electric automaker (and Tesla Motors rival) Faraday Future, to return to the country to address Leshi’s debts.
It’s not entirely clear where Jia is, but he lately has been spending a lot of time in the U.S., where he has had a heavy hand in running Faraday Future after stepping down from other roles. That would-be Tesla rival reportedly has its own deep financial and management issues.
According to the South China Morning Post, the order was publicized in a letter from the Commission yesterday. The letter, according to the Post’s translation from Chinese, said Leshi’s failure to repay debts “has severely hurt the interest of the listed company and investors and has had an extremely adverse social impact.” According to the Post, the public letter is an unusual move, and may represent a strengthening of China’s approach to securities regulation.
Leshi, founded as a video streaming service, is specified in the letter. But LeEco, of which Leshi is a subsidiary, also has major unanswered debt. LeEco’s debts triggered protests by LeEco suppliers outside a Leshi meeting in July. The protesters in that incident alone said they were owed nearly $50 million.
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The Commission has apparently been requesting Jia’s return to China since September. He stepped away from both LeEco and Leshi over the summer.
The order comes just days after reports that Jia had announced a massive new outside investment in the U.S.-based electric car startup Faraday Future, and taken on the CEO role there. The announcement was met with some skepticism given the company’s deeply troubled state, and Faraday Future still hasn’t responded to Fortune’s request for confirmation of that investment.