JD shares fall most on record after CEO Liu accused of rape

Ivan Schwartz
September 6, 2018

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

The billionaire head of one of China's top e-commerce sites who was arrested over the weekend in Minnesota is under investigation following an accusation of felony rape in the Midwestern state, according to a Minneapolis Police report.

Liu's arrest has quickly become the hottest topic of conversation on Chinese social media this week with his mugshot plastered on all corners and with netizens gossiping over what this means for the tycoon's high-profile marriage to Zhang Zetian, a 24-year-old internet icon dubbed China's "Milk Tea Sister" after having first caught the nation's eye in a viral photo showing her with a cup of milk tea in hand. Elder said the alleged attack reportedly occurred at 1am local time on Friday, and that Liu was taken into custody later that evening.

"Mr. Liu didn't do anything wrong, and the police have released him without any restrictions", Friedberg told the Star, adding, "I would bet my [law] license that he's not going to be charged".

Liu appeared at an event in Beijing on Tuesday for JD.com, and his attorney, Earl Gray, an attorney for Liu, doesn't expect Liu to face charges. It said the alleged offence was "criminal sexual contact - rape" and domestic violence was not involved.

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

The U.S. and China do not have an extradition treaty. If charged and convicted, Liu could be sentenced to 30 years in prison.

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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.

Hennepin County Sheriff jail records show that he was arrested at 11:32 pm CT on Friday and released at 4:05 p.m. CT on Saturday, without requiring bail.

Bloomberg estimates Liu's net worth at US$7.3 billion, while Forbes has it at US$10 billion.

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

Shares of JD.com are down 36% since this year.

Liu's arrest comes as the billionaire is still trying to distance himself from the sexual assault conviction of one of his party-goers at a gathering he hosted in his luxury Sydney penthouse in 2015.

Other reports by GizPress

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