Chinese billionaire arrested over allegations of criminal sexual conduct in the US: Report

Records from Hennepin County Jail show that the founder and CEO of the Chinese online retail giant JD.com was arrested over sexual misconduct allegations late Friday night


                            Chinese billionaire arrested over allegations of criminal sexual conduct in the US: Report

Liu Qiangdong, better known as Richard Liu, the Chinese billionaire and founder of JD.com, the Beijing-based e-commerce site, was arrested on Friday on suspicion of criminal sexual conduct, according to police records.

Hennepin County Jail records show that the 45-year-old businessman was arrested late Friday night and released Saturday afternoon with possible criminal charges pending. However, the records obtained do not provide details of the alleged criminal sexual conduct.

On Sunday, John Elder, spokesman for the Minneapolis police, said he couldn't reveal any information pertaining to the case as the investigation is still underway. No details were provided — including the place of his arrest or what exactly the entrepreneur was accused of.

"The individual was arrested Friday evening and released Saturday afternoon. He was released pending formal complaint," Elder told AFP. 

CEO of JD.com Richard Liu Qiangdong arrives at the Great Hall of the People to attend the opening ceremony of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) at The Great Hall of People on March 3, 2018, in Beijing, China. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
CEO of JD.com Richard Liu Qiangdong arrives at the Great Hall of the People to attend the opening ceremony of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) at The Great Hall of People on March 3, 2018, in Beijing, China. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

 

Right from gross misdemeanor to felonies, Minnesota law defines five degrees of criminal sexual misconduct, covering a broad range of conduct from nonconsensual touching to violent assaults with injuries. But Liu's jail records did not indicate any specific degree, according to Time.

In a statement posted Sunday on Chinese social media site Weibo, JD.com said that Liu was falsely accused while he was in the United States on a business trip. The company, which is the main rival to Alibaba Group, said investigators found no evidence of misconduct and let him continue his journey per his previously scheduled plan. “We will take the necessary legal action against false reporting or rumors,” the company said.

Recently, the CEO had tried to distance himself from allegations of sexual assault against a guest at a 2015 party at his penthouse in Australia. While Liu was not charged or accused of any wrongdoing, he unsuccessfully tried to keep his name off the case. However, the guest who made the false accusations was later convicted.



 

That being said, tech-giant Google had announced in June that it would invest $550 million in JD.com in an effort to expand its own reach into Asian e-commerce. 

The two giants will combine JD's supply chain and logistics experience with Google technology to create "next generation" personalized retail in regions such as Southeast Asia, the US, and Europe, according to a joint statement. 



 

According to the company bio, it claims to offer a "one-stop" shopping experience to over 300 million active customers in China, while providing same-day as well as next-day delivery as standard. 

After Alibaba, JD.com is China's second-largest e-commerce company. There are quite a few prominent investors in the company, including U.S. retailer Walmart Inc, a major rival of Alibaba, and Chinese internet gaming and social media giant Tencent Holdings, the developer of the WeChat messenger app. 

With AFP inputs