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Chinese electric car startup Faraday's co-founder steps down

Planned $2bn investment from white knight Evergrande went sour

Faraday Future co-founder Nick Sampson, seen here at an unveiling event in Las Vegas in January 2017.   © Reuters

Chinese electric vehicle developer Faraday Future said on Tuesday its co-founder Nick Sampson has resigned, a week after the cash-starved company planned pay cuts and layoffs to reduce operational costs.

Faraday Future, which has ambitions of overtaking Tesla, said its senior vice president for global product and technology Peter Savagian has stepped down as well.

The move comes as the company is embroiled in a stand-off with its primary investor, China's Evergrande Health Industry Group Ltd, after a planned $2 billion investment from the unit of Evergrande Group went sour.

"Recent actions taken by Evergrande is causing FF to experience extraordinary financial hardship," the company told Reuters in an emailed statement.

"The investor has intervened in the company's capital planning and is preventing FF from utilizing our assets, which requires FF to take some very difficult yet necessary actions," the company said.

Faraday Future can seek financing from sources other than Evergrande Health, according to an interim ruling earlier this month, by a Hong Kong arbitration court in a dispute between the startup and its main investor.

The company said it has now asked certain employees to take an unpaid leave of absence for November and December and is offering other employees the option of taking leave for the same period of time.

"We anticipate the furlough to last through the end of December 2018," the company said.

(Reuters)

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