When Richard Liu, the billionaire founder of Chinese e-commerce site JD.com, was arrested last week, Minneapolis police did not confirm the specifics of the alleged sexual misconduct case. On Tuesday, police revealed action was taken in response to a rape complaint, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Liu, who was identified by police by his Chinese name Liu Qiangdong, was arrested Friday night and released on Saturday. He has since returned to China without being charged.
An attorney for Liu, Earl Gray, said Tuesday that he doesn’t expect the CEO will face any charges. “There is no believable or credible evidence that he has done anything wrong and he denies any wrongdoing,” Gray told the Journal.
One of China’s wealthiest businesspeople, Liu was in Minneapolis for a PhD residency at University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. The complaint against him was lodged by a female student from China, people familiar with the case told the Journal.
Police spokespeople said they are continuing to investigate, but Liu is not being held in custody and does not face travel restrictions.
Chuck Laszewski, a spokesman for the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, said prosecutors are awaiting the case file before making any decision about potential charges.
The scandal ignited by the case has taken a toll on the 45-year-old tycoon’s company, which counts Walmart Inc, Alphabet Inc’s Google and China’s Tencent Holdings as investors. Shares in JD.com, China’s second largest online retailer after Alibaba, dipped Tuesday to an 18-month low, according to Reuters.
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. Earlier this year, Liu was a delegate at the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the country’s top political advisory panel comprising business and political leaders.
Liu’s name was also caught up in a sexual misconduct trial in 2015, though he was not the defendant, according to Reuters. The case involved a guest at a party Liu hosted at his home in Sydney who accused another guest of sexually assault. The defendant was found guilty of seven offenses.
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