Economy

Police In Minneapolis Say Chinese Billionaire's Arrest Was For Alleged Rape

Police In Minneapolis Say Chinese Billionaire's Arrest Was For Alleged Rape”

No charge has been filed against Liu as the matter is still under investigation by the sex crimes division of the Minneapolis Police Department.

A Chinese billionaire who founded the Beijing-based e-commerce site JD.com has returned to China after being arrested in the USA for alleged sexual misconduct.

Three American law firms, Rosen, Schall and Pomerantz, said late Tuesday that they would investigate on behalf of shareholders whether JD.com issued misleading statements or failed to disclose information related to Liu's arrest.

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. He was released without charge but investigations are ongoing.

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

Earl Gray, a lawyer for Mr Liu, said he did not expect him to face charges, according to the Wall Street Journal.

"The shares have fallen as a direct result of Liu's alleged sexual misconduct", said Li Yi, chief fellow at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.

Minneapolis police spokesman John Elder said Sunday that he couldn't provide any details because the investigation is considered active.

JD.com's shares have plummeted since Minnesota police arrested the 45-year-old Liu on Friday for an alleged rape.

A spokesperson 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 residency from August 26 to September 1.

JD.com, which is China's second-largest e-commerce company after Alibaba, saw its shares plunge in USA trading 6.4% to $29.29 after the Labor Day public holiday.

Liu recently tried to distance himself from sexual assault allegations against a guest at a 2015 party at his penthouse in Australia.

"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.

Tuesday's share price slump extends the decline this year to 30 per cent. Liu has an estimated net worth of US$7.3 billion, according to a wealth index calculated by Bloomberg.

Danny Law, Hong Kong-based analyst at brokerage Guotai Junan, said that if U.S. police charged Liu, the firm's share price would fall further, but predicted there would not be a sharp crash because of an already steep fall so far this year.



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