JD.com Founder Richard Liu Has Been Accused of Rape, Report Says

Richard Liu is now back in China after a brief US arrest

Jail records show he was arrested Friday in Minneapolis.

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.

Mr Liu, identified in the report by his Chinese name Liu Qiangdong, was released from custody on Saturday without being charged, and he returned to 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. Liu was released from police custody without bail or travel restrictions. The jail records don't provide details of the alleged incident.

JD.com's rules require Liu, who holds almost 80 per cent of the company's voting rights, to be present at board meetings for the board to make decisions, although it was not clear if he has to be physically present or could participate by teleconference.

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In the state of Minnesota, "criminal sexual conduct" encompasses a broad spectrum of non-consensual sexual activity.

Lawyers for Liu have said they do not expect him to be charged.

The police report said domestic violence was not involved.

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.

"Negative publicity could also compromise JD.com's ability to attract global brands to its marketplace, which has been a top focus of the CEO over the past two years or so", Sanderson said.

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Why it's important: Under Minnesota law, Liu could face up to 30 years for the alleged crime.

A spokeswoman 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 weeklong residency, from August 26 to September 1.

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.

The Nasdaq-listed JD.com has made headway in its battle with e-commerce giant Alibaba by operating its own logistics network and providing Chinese customers with same-day or next-day delivery for many of their purchases.

If the U.S. 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.

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