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JD.com CEO Being Investigated for Rape
06 September 2018, 03:47 | Austin Hogan
Tech billionaire and founder of JD.com Richard Liu returns to China after US arrest
Chinese billionaire Liu Qiandong was arrested and placed in the custody of a police station in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Friday night on suspicion of sexual misconduct. He was released Saturday.
However, a Minneapolis police report said the arrest of Chinese billionaire Liu Qiangdong was over a felony rape accusation. He was released without charge but investigations are ongoing.
It gave no further details, but Elder said the alleged attack reportedly occurred at 1 a.m. local time on Friday, and that Liu was taken into custody later that evening.
In a statement Sunday, JD.com said Liu was falsely accused while in the USA on a business trip, and that police investigators found no misconduct.
Liu's arrest has quickly become the hottest topic of conversation on Chinese social media this week with his mugshot plastered on all corners and with netizens gossiping over what this means for the tycoon's high-profile marriage to Zhang Zetian, a 24-year-old internet icon dubbed China's "Milk Tea Sister" after having first caught the nation's eye in a viral photo showing her with a cup of milk tea in hand.
The reason for Mr Liu's arrest in the U.S. was initially disclosed as "criminal sexual conduct". No travel restrictions were imposed and Mr Liu has returned to China.
An attorney for Liu, Earl Gray, said Tuesday that he doesn't expect the CEO will face any charges. Gray said he and Friedberg would represent Liu if charges are filed, but called that prospect "a very remote possibility".
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Nasdaq-listed JD.com said in a statement Sunday that Liu was falsely accused while in the US on a business trip, and that police investigators found no misconduct and he would continue his journey as planned.
Why it's important: Under Minnesota law, Liu could face up to 30 years for the alleged crime.
The South China Morning Post reports that "Liu was in Minneapolis to take classes at the University of Minnesota, where he was enrolled at the school's Carlson School of Management to complete the American residency of a US-China business administration doctorate programme".
If the United States police accuse Liu, the company's share price would continue to fall, but it was predicted that there would not be a sharp crash due to an already sharp decline this year, Reuters quoted Danny Law, an analyst at brokerage Guotai Junan as saying.
Liu, who is worth an estimated $7.3 billion, owns 16 percent of the company and has vast control over major business decisions.
Shares in China's second largest e-commerce company closed down 6 per cent at US$29.43 (S$40.50) on Tuesday on the Nasdaq. The case involved a guest at a party Liu hosted at his home in Sydney who accused another guest of sexually assault.
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