The woman accused in a major scam that involved nearly $10 million worth of cosmetics and skincare products was a former employee of a popular beauty brand in China, the country’s top cosmetics regulator said.
Lira, which launched in the United States in 2005, has a $10 billion business in China and a $1 billion stake in Korean cosmetics maker Skincares.
Lirex is now under investigation in the Philippines, the South China Morning Post newspaper reported Monday.
A Lirex spokesman declined to comment on the report, and the company has not responded to CNN’s request for comment.
A spokeswoman for the company in Beijing said the company does not comment on rumors or speculation.
A senior official with Lirext told CNN that the woman, identified as the company’s chief operating officer, was fired after the scam was uncovered.
Liz Huang, LireX’s chief executive officer, told CNN the company had launched a fraud and bribery probe in the U.S. and the Philippines.
Liaoning, a wealthy and strategically important coastal province of China, has one of the world’s most polluted cities, with a population of more than 100 million.
More than 3,000 people have died from pollution in the past year in the province.
Lianhe Zaohui, a professor of marketing and communications at the University of Pennsylvania, told the AP that a large number of the products used by Lirexponders were made by other brands, including Korean brands such as Janssen and Lianhe.
The company has about 100 employees in Lianxiang, she said.
“We have a lot of experience in dealing with such situations,” she said, adding that some of the companies that make products used in the scam were the top tier suppliers in China.