LeEco founder Jia Yueting has been banned from luxury air and rail travel. The restrictions include a complete prohibition on traveling on flights and limitations on rail travel for a year. The move follows the publication of Credit China’s list of individuals restricted from taking long-distance public transport.
The list contains the names of 169 individuals who have been prohibited from using China’s air and rail networks for failing to pay taxes, smoking on trains, and disrupting flights. Jia’s sister, Jia Yuefang, also appeared on the list. According to an investigation by the 21st Century Business Herald (in Chinese), Jia’s ID information is consistent with previously disclosed details.
On May 1, 2018, a framework entitled Opinions concerning Appropriately Limiting Specific Gravely Untrustworthy Persons from Riding Trains for a Certain Period, and Promoting the Construction of the Social Credit System was implemented. It bars passengers from using public transport from a range of reasons including refusing to buy train tickets when riding on the country’s rail network, failing to pay fines, failing to pay taxes, and engaging in fraudulent behavior.
Jia has found himself in financial trouble over the course of the past two years. LeEco’s cash situation quickly worsened in 2016 when the company tried to expand its operations outside of China’s borders. Following its financial trouble, Jia stepped down as chairman in July 2017, just one month after resigning from his position as company CEO. Things got worse when a Beijing court froze LeEco’s and Jia’s assets in August 2017.
In September 2017, the company rebranded in an attempt to distance itself from its founder. Three months later, Jia was added to a government blacklist for credit defaulters. He was called back to China in February 2018 to sort out the company’s mounting debt, and in May executives warned that the company would lose its position as a controlling shareholder in its TV division if Jia didn’t repay the money he owed the company.
Update June 2, 2018, 10:00: Included information relating to the type and duration of the ban.