Over the weekend, Chinese self-driving startup JingChi’s (景驰科技) co-founder Pan Sining accused CFO Lu Qing and others of forging signatures in shareholder’s meetings and illegally removing him from his positions as executive director and statutory representative, local media has reported.

Pan wrote in a post on his official social media account demanding a response from JingChi: “Without the legal process, I am still the executive director and statutory representative of the company.”

Pan claimed the case has been filed to the Beijing Municipality Haidian District People’s Court.

On Sunday (8 July), JingChi issued a statement refuting Pan’s claim. The company responded saying that Pan is no longer an employee of JingChi and that Pan has been removed from his position as legal representative and executive director of the company, in accordance with the law and company bylaws.

It is speculated that JinChi’s internal drama stemmed from Wang Jing, the founder and formal CEO of JingChi, who stepped down from his position in February due to a dispute with former employer Baidu who claimed that Wang violated his non-compete agreement and used Baidu’s self-driving technology to compete against Baidu. Days after Wang’s departure, JingChi announced a partnership with Baidu’s Apollo.

Amidst executive management reshuffle, the statutory representative of JingChi’s incorporated entity in Beijing has always been Pan since April of 2017, who, prior to joining JingChi, was the director of Baidu’s pay-per-click (PPC) platform Phoenix Nest and had worked closely with Wang for years. Reports suggest that after Wang Jin’s departure in February, Pan was no longer employed by JingChi.

Founded in 2017, JingChi has since moved its headquarters from Silicon Valley to Guangzhou and signed cooperation deals with Guangzhou government to develop autonomous driving technology. Last September, the driverless car startup raised $52 million in a funding round from investors including Qiming Venture Partners and Nvidia Corp.

Nicole Jao is a reporter based in Beijing. She’s passionate about emerging trends, news, and stories of human interest within the world of technology. Connect with her on Twitter or via email: nicole.jao.iting@gmail.com.

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