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UPDATE 1-Luckin Coffee's CEO inquiry finds no evidence of misconduct

(Adds details from release, background)

Feb 17 (Reuters) - Chinese coffee chain Luckin Coffee said on Wednesday its board had found no evidence of misconduct by Chief Executive Jinyi Guo during a month-long investigation into allegations made by some employees.

Guo, who took over after the competitor to Starbucks ousted co-founder and chairman Charles Zhengyao amid an internal fraud investigation, had denied the allegations.

The coffee chain’s explosive growth was halted last year by an investigation into its accounts for overstating 2019 revenue and understating net loss.

This resulted in a penalty of $180 million to settle the fraud charges and the company seeking bankruptcy protection.

The latest investigation found that some members of the company’s former management had participated in the planning of the petition letter sent to the board on Jan. 4.

Luckin said the special panel of the board reviewed more than 50,000 transaction documents, emails and other documents, and interviewed nearly 40 individuals, both external parties and staff.

The investigation team included board members, outside counsels and forensic accounting experts. (Reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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