China’s wildest corporate/divorce drama continues with the co-founder of an online shopping giant breaking into corporate offices and snatching documents from safes in an attempt to seize back control over the company from his estranged wife.
Dangdang disclosed the incident on its official Weibo account on Tuesday, claiming that its deposed co-founder Li Guoqing had brought more than 20 people to carry out the operation. They forcibly entered the offices in the early morning, prying open safes, and taking the important documents inside.
The company explained that it had contacted police and that the incident would have no effect on normal operations.
Meanwhile, Li himself has claimed that he is legally taking control of the company and hopes that his estranged wife, Peggy Yu, will cooperate in the “handover.”
This is the second corporate raid that Li has commanded this year. Back in April, he broke into company headquarters in Beijing to steal away 47 corporate seals while posting a notice at the front reception area, declaring that he had been made the new CEO at an emergency shareholders meeting and that Yu would no longer be involved with the company.
Dangdang later said that no board meeting had taken place and that Yu remains the CEO with the full support of shareholders. The company added that the stolen seals were rendered void and that a police report was filed.
This whole drama is nothing too out of character for Li and Yu. The couple founded Dangdang together back in 1999 as an online bookstore.
The company was once thought of as China’s answer to Amazon, being listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 2010 with a $1 billion valuation.
However, in the years since, Dangdang has been gradually losing out to competitors like Amazon.cn and JD.com. It was delisted a few years ago.
Last year, the couple went public about their impending divorce and startedripping each other to shreds online.
Yu trashed her husband in a series of WeChat messages, calling him a deadbeat dad, a bearish businessman, and a homosexual infected with syphilis from his young male lovers to boot who also stole a 130 million yuan ($18 million) from a joint account in apparent preparation for divorce proceedings.
“I’ve had enough. You’ve kidnapped my life for 20 years,” she wrote. “Fuck off.”
For his part, Li has accused Yu of wrestling control of the company away from him and has claimed that he had evidence of her own extra-marital affairs.
Earlier that year, Li resigned from all involvement in Dangdang’s operations while Yu became CEO. She holds a majority stake in the company.
There has yet to be any verdict in the couple’s divorce case.