Cleveland, Ohio – Two Chinese nationals have been arrested and charged with “wire fraud” against Goodyear, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced 22 Feb.
Xin Franco Fan, 40, and Rex Xu Yu, 41, were detained on 19 Feb, FBI special agent in charge Stephen Anthony and acting US attorney Carole Rendon said in the news release.
“These two defendants were engaged in a multi-year scheme designed to steal tens of thousands of dollars from Goodyear,” Rendon said.
Rendon commended Goodyear for “promptly reaching out to law enforcement when they uncovered this scheme”.
“Because of their quick action, we are now able to hold these men accountable for their conduct,” he added.
According to a criminal complaint, Fan and Yu were employees of Goodyear Orient Company (Private) Ltd, or GOCPL, a subsidiary of Goodyear, located in Singapore and with offices in China.
GOCPL manages all of the natural rubber purchasing, delivery, financing and quality certifications for Goodyear’s global operations.
Goodyear, said the FBI report, spends approximately $1 billion (€900 million) annually, through GOCPL, to acquire natural rubber for its operations.
In 2015, Goodyear received an anonymous tip that Fan and Yu were receiving kickback payments in connection with GOCPL’s raw materials purchases.
“With the cooperation of Goodyear executives, an investigation into the matter led to a complaint being filed in the Northern District of Ohio Federal court and arrest warrants being issued for Fan and Yu,” added the report.
As a condition of their employment, Fan and Yu were obligated to act in the best interests of Goodyear when purchasing natural rubber.
FBI clarified that a complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt.
A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.