JD.com CEO was arrested on allegation of rape: USA police report

Gladys Abbott
September 6, 2018

Jail records show he was arrested Friday in Minneapolis.

"We are putting resources to the investigation and our concern is to provide services to the complainant and to ensure that we're protecting the rights of Mr Liu", John Elder, a police department spokesman, told the South China Morning Post.

Zhang Shuhan, a JD.com official, said Monday by phone that "Liu Qiangdong has been released without charges and he is now back in China".

The founder and chief executive of Chinese retailer JD.com Inc, Richard Liu, was arrested in Minneapolis last week following an allegation of rape, according to a public information report released by police. He has been released without any charges, and without requirement for bail.

"During a business trip to the United States, Mr. Liu was questioned by police in Minnesota in relation to an unsubstantiated accusation". It is likely to increase the pressure on Liu and US-listed JD.com, which saw its shares end down 6% on its first day of trade since the news of his arrest broke.

The Journal said authorities in Minnesota are investigating a complaint against Liu by a female student from China.

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Liu's attorney Joseph Friedberg has previously said his client is unlikely to be charged. It said the alleged offence was "criminal sexual contact - rape" and domestic violence was not involved.

Shen Meng, director of boutique investment bank Chanson & Co, said as a US-listed company, the statement from JD is not professional and if the company is really involved in issuing materially misleading business information to the investing public, it might be punished severely or even be delisted from the U.S. bourses.

A spokesperson for the University of Minnesota said Liu, who is enrolled as a student with the Carlson School of Management's doctor of business administration China program, was in Minneapolis to attend a residency from August 26 to September 1.

JD competes in e-commerce with Alibaba Group, parent company of the South China Morning Post. Liu was not charged or accused of wrongdoing, but Australian media reported he tried unsuccessfully to get a court to prevent the release of his name in that case.

Liu's arrest comes as the billionaire is still trying to distance himself from the sexual assault conviction of one of his party-goers at a gathering he hosted in his luxury Sydney penthouse in 2015.

Since JD's listing in 2014, Liu has become one of China's richest and most influential men, with a net worth of about $7.9 billion, according to Forbes.

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