Richard Liu, high-flying CEO of JD.com, has fostered 'clean' reputation

03 September, 2018, 19:13 | Author: Bert Pena
  • Liu's Hennepin County Sheriff's Office Mugshot

Richard Liu, the billionaire founder and CEO of one of China's largest e-commerce sites, was arrested in Minneapolis late Friday on suspicion of sexual misconduct, according to police.

JD.com, the company which Liu founded in 1998, is an e-commerce juggernaut in China and the main competitor to industry leader Alibaba.

However, the case is still active-and Minneapolis Police Department spokesman John Elder told the Journal that Liu was "released pending formal complaint".

"Such allegations about Liu Qiangdong sexually assaulting female students are inaccurate, and the CEO will continue his trip in the United States as planned", said the statement, adding JD.com will take legal action against "false reports and rumor mongering".

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

In addition, JD.com also threatened legal action against those publishing false reports and rumors. According to the Wall Street Journal, Liu was held on probable cause and released without bail.

Liu is married to 24-year-old Zhang Zetian, an internet icon who rose to nationwide fame when a photo of her holding a cup of milk tea went viral. Liu, who is worth an estimated $7.3 billion, owns 16 percent of the company and has vast control over major business decisions.

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JD.com, backed by Walmart, Alphabet's Google and China's Tencent Holdings, said in a statement on Sunday that Liu was falsely accused.

Liu's arrest comes as the billionaire is still trying to distance himself from a sexual assault that occurred at a party he hosted in his luxury Sydney penthouse in 2015. "Mr. Liu has returned to work in China".

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. The jail records for Liu don't indicate a degree.

The arrest comes shortly after Liu was in the spotlight for another incident involving sexual misconduct.

Longwei Xu, a property developer, was later convicted of the crime.

JD.com denied the charge against Liu.

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