Wikileaks just released documents exposing shady practices at Chinese electric car company BYD, including according to Reuters. The company is said to have stolen designs from competitors, put other companies logos on its vehicles and scrimped on safety.
The reason this should surprise you is that value investor Warren Buffet paid $232 million for a 10 per cent stake in BYD during the financial crisis.
It’s unclear whether Buffett knew about any of this. In any case, BYD hasn’t been charged with anything illegal — only dubious practices that might not be allowed in the U.S.
Details from the leak:
The scorching assessment of BYD by U.S. officials carried the title, “BYD seeks to ‘Build Your Dreams’ — based on Someone Else’s Designs”…
BYD, U.S. suppliers complained, would ask for an initial order of parts like door panels, then drop the business, reverse engineer the part and use it on upcoming models.
In addition, BYD was “nowhere near meeting safety standards” to export to the United States or Europe, the consultant found, and its quality was spotty in the Chinese market. “If you shut the doors too hard, they fall off,” the consultant said, asking that he not be named.
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