BEIJING, China — A person claiming to be a current employee at Condé Nast China has accused Group Publisher Paco Tang of bribery and corruption.
In a leaked email addressed to company President Sophia Liao, the unnamed employee claimed to have “evidence of [Tang’s] corruption and bribery” in the form of WeChat messages and “a large volume of data” collected over the past six months. Tang has not responded to BoF's request for comment.
A screenshot of the email, which was posted on Weibo on September 23, appears to have been sent to Condé Nast China names like Vogue China’s Editor in Chief Angelica Cheung, in addition to top Chinese executives of global luxury brands. Since the news has gone viral and garnered over 100 million views on Weibo, Tang has published a status on his personal account saying, "I've really gone viral lately...I'm very well, please don't be worried."
The message makes several allegations against Tang, including embezzlement of $1 million to $1.4 million in Condé Nast company funds, conflict of interest and under-the-table agreements to benefit an agency set up by him and his partner Li Fan, and harassment of models and celebrities at company events. It alleges that Tang forced celebrities to take photos with him and tag him on Chinese social media platform Weibo, threatening to blacklist them otherwise.
In June, Condé Nast China promoted Tang to Group Publisher after he served as the publisher of GQ China and the local edition of Condé Nast Traveller, extending his remit to Vogue China.
Liao and Condé Nast International have since released a statement, saying that while the group “supports advocacy of transparency and fairness” in line with local laws and regulations, “the anonymous sender [hasn’t] provided any evidence, nor [have we] internally found any irregularities [relating to] Paco Tang.”
The statement continues: “Given the lack of evidence provided, the company reserves all of its rights for legal prosecution in relation to this matter. [To] the celebrities mentioned in the anonymous email, we apologise for all the inconveniences caused.”
Stay tuned for more information as the story develops.