Chinese billionaire returns to Beijing after USA arrest

Chinese billionaire returns to Beijing after USA arrest

Chinese billionaire returns to Beijing after USA arrest

Liu Qiangdong, CEO of the Chinese e-commerce giant, was arrested on Friday night over a sexual-misconduct allegation during a business trip in Minneapolis.

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

"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".

Any prolonged absence by Liu could exacerbate risks for the company, given JD.com's unusual rules that require Liu to be present at board meetings for the board to make decisions.

The South China Morning Post reports that "Liu was in Minneapolis to take classes at the University of Minnesota, where he was enrolled at the school's Carlson School of Management to complete the American residency of a US-China business administration doctorate programme". It is not clear, however, if he has to be physically present or could participate by teleconference.

"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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Danny Law, Hong Kong-based analyst at brokerage Guotai Junan, said that if US 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.

Liu, who was born to a peasant family in East China's Jiangsu province, become one of China's richest men by establishing his e-commerce giant JD.com, which is listed in the USA with a market value of around $43 billion.

The company counts Walmart Inc, Alphabet Inc's Google and China's Tencent Holdings as investors.

In June Google announced it would invest more than half a billion dollars in JD.com as part of a move to expand retail services around the world. "He was arrested and released after 18 hours".

In its latest annual report, the company said that as of February 28 this year Liu beneficially owned 79.5 per cent of the aggregate voting power of our company, giving him "considerable influence over important corporate matters".

Liu's name was also caught up in a sexual misconduct trial in 2015, though he was not the defendant, according to Reuters. Although Liu himself was not charged with any wrongdoing, a guest at the party, Longwei Xu, was found guilty of sexually assaulting a young woman he met at the party and took back to his hotel, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

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