Thursday, 20 September, 2018

JD.com head Liu briefly held in USA for sexual misconduct

Chinese billionaire arrested in Minneapolis Liu Qiangdong, CEO of Chinese tech giant JD.com, in sex assault probe
Jay Anderson | 03 September, 2018, 19:15

A Chinese billionaire has been arrested in Minneapolis on suspicion of criminal sexual conduct.

Richard Liu, CEO and founder of China's e-commerce company JD.com, attends a France-Chinese forum on the applications of artificial intelligence at SOHO 3Q in Beijing, China January 9, 2018.

He was arrested shortly before midnight local time on Friday and was released just after 4 p.m. on Saturday, according to the website of the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office.

John Elder, a spokesman for the Minneapolis Police Department, said, however, that "an active investigation" was underway but it was possible for Liu to leave the United States.

Over the weekend, JD.com released a statement on Weibo defending Liu, claiming that the company's founder had been falsely accused and that police had found that no misconduct occurred.

JD.com is now China's second-largest e-commerce player behind Alibaba, and Liu's net worth is $7.9 billion, according to Forbes.

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".




That proved key to JD.com's rise, culminating in its listing in the United States in 2014.

Born into a poor farming family in northern Jiangsu province, Liu is arguably less well-known outside China unlike Jack Ma, Tencent Holdings' Pony Ma Huateng and Baidu's Robin Li Yanhong, who recently made to the cover of the Time magazine.

In June, Google announced it would invest more than half a billion dollars into JD.com as part of a move to expand retail services around the world.

Both the name and birthdate of the person in the detention record matched that of Richard Liu. He tried to distance himself from a sexual assault that was said to have taken place after a 2015 party at his penthouse in Australia.

In return, JD.com will join Google's shopping platform.

Longwei Xu was found guilty in July of sexual assault after a jury found that he pinned the woman down and repeatedly tried to have sex with her during an hour-long ordeal at his hotel room in December 2015, Sydney Morning Herald reports.

He has a sociology degree from Beijing's prestigious Renmin University and is a delegate to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), an important advisory body to the government.

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