U.S. SEC investigates Luckin Coffee over accounting scandal: WSJ

FILE PHOTO: A cup of 'Luckin Coffee,' coffee is displayed during the company's IPO at the Nasdaq Market site in New York, U.S., May 17, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

(Reuters) - The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating Luckin Coffee Inc LK.O for fabricating millions of dollars worth of sales deals last year, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday citing people familiar with the matter.

Earlier this month, Luckin Coffee said an internal investigation revealed that its chief operating officer and other employees were suspended for fabricated sales deals worth about 2.2 billion yuan ($310.77 million).

Shares in Luckin, which aggressively pitched itself as a challenger to Starbucks SBUX.O in China, have plunged by more than 90% from their January high following the news.

China’s State Administration for Market Regulation has also launched an inspection into Luckin, joining the country’s securities watchdog.

Luckin and the U.S. SEC were not immediately available for a comment.

Reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Supriya Kurane