China MediaExpress Holdings: Critics and Short Sellers Were Right!

In February, I wrote about China MediaExpress Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ:CCME) and several fraud allegations that had surfaced via researchers at Muddy Waters and Citron Research. After looking at the allegations and the support (or lack thereof), my conclusion was that there was something wrong at the company. I wrote that even if some of the allegations were false or exaggerated, there were just too many unanswered questions and too many red flags of fraud.

I was attacked here by supporters of CCME. No bit of logic or common sense could sway the fans. Their arguments did not hold water. The main arguments were that I hadn’t done any due diligence on CCME (I had only looked at the work of several others), that auditors from Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu had verified the numbers (At least someone out there knows how unreliable audits are when it comes to fraud, though.), that due diligence was performed by Global Hunter Securities, and that Hank Greenberg’s Starr Investments put many millions into CCME. Surely all of these things meant that the company and its reported revenues and profits were legitimate?

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More Evidence of Fraud at China MediaExpress Holdings

UPDATE: In March 2011, CFO Jacky Lam of China Media Express and the auditors (Deloitte) resigned. Deloitte said they could no longer rely on the representations of management, and they suggested an investigation was in order. Ping Luo, the analyst from Global Hunter who gave CCME rave reviews resigned. Maurice Greenberg’s Starr Investments sued CCME for fraudulently inducing it to invest $13.5 million. The stock was delisted from the NASDAQ in May 2011.

Deloitte raised the following issues: questionable authenticity of bank statements, supicioius bank confirmation procedures, existence of advertisers/customers, undisclosed bank accounts and bank loans, financial filings with the State Administration of Industry and Commerce differing from information provided to auditors, questionable authenticity of tax filing documents, cash payments to employees, and double counting of buses.

Last month, I wrote a piece on China MediaExpress Holdings (NASDAQ: CCME) and the allegations of fraud by researchers at Citron Research and Muddy Waters. The story grew quickly with the reaction of the company and its supporters. China Media Express Holdings responded to the allegations with a letter posted on their website, but the letter failed to definitively address several of the issues. The supporters of CCME were rabid, attacking anyone who would question the company.

Citron and Muddy Waters made many accusations, but the most concerning items included:

Read moreMore Evidence of Fraud at China MediaExpress Holdings