JD.com CEO was accused of rape

CEO Returns to China After Arrest in US Sexual Misconduct Case

Tech billionaire and founder of JD.com Richard Liu returns to China after US arrest

China's foreign ministry said Monday that the Chinese Consulate in Chicago is looking into the circumstances surrounding Liu's arrest.

The report doesn't provide details of the alleged incident.

Liu, whose Chinese name is Liu Qiangdong, was in the Midwest city completing the American summer residency of a U.S.

The Minneapolis p‌ol‌ic‌e department, however, has disputed the claim, saying that an investigation is ongoing and Liu was merely allowed to go free without bail or travel restrictions.

Liu is one of China's richest men and among the country's handful of internet celebrities who are household names.

Earl Gray, a lawyer for Mr Liu, said he did not expect him to face charges, according to the Wall Street Journal. It said the alleged offence was "criminal sexual contact - rape", and said domestic violence was not involved.

Chuck Laszewski, a spokesman for the Hennepin County Attorney's Office, said prosecutors are awaiting the case file before making any decision about potential charges.

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According to Minnesota law, the maximum penalty if found guilty of first degree sexual assault is 30 years and the minimum is 12 years.

The exercise price is US$33.40 per ADR - about US$7 above the current market price - subject to a 10-year vesting schedule with 10 per cent of the award vested on each anniversary of the grant date, according to information in the company's latest annual report which was confirmed by JD. He declined to say where in Minneapolis Liu was arrested or what Liu was accused of doing.

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

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

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.

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.

Shen Meng, director of boutique investment bank Chanson & Co, said as a US-listed company, the statement from JD is not professional and if the company is really involved in issuing materially misleading business information to the investing public, it might be punished severely or even be delisted from the United States bourses.

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