Adidas launches China investigation after anonymous letter alleging corruption

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(June 17): Adidas AG is investigating allegations of corruption in China, after receiving an anonymous letter exposing potential compliance violations by some employees.

The German sportswear company is working with external legal counsel after receiving the letter on June 7, it said in an emailed statement.

China was a growth engine for Adidas before the Covid-19 pandemic, but boycotts of Western brands then pared business. The company has returned to growth in the country in recent quarters, albeit from a smaller base, thanks to a rebound in demand for shoes including classic three-striped sneakers like the Samba and the Gazelle.

The anonymous letter briefly appeared on the Chinese social media platform known as Xiaohongshu earlier this month, the Financial Times reported over the weekend. The letter, which claims to have been written by “employees from Adidas China”, named several Chinese employees, including a senior manager involved with Adidas’ marketing budget in the country.

The letter, based on screenshots that circulated on social media and news websites in China, claimed that Adidas employees received kickbacks from external service providers, with another senior manager having potentially received “millions in cash” from suppliers and physical items such as real estate.

Adidas said it could not provide further information. The company takes the allegations very seriously, it said. The shares fell less than 1% in early Frankfurt trading. They have gained about 21% so far this year.…Read more by

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