brief arrest of the billionaire founder of one of China’s biggest internet companies, Minnesota police have revealed that JD.com CEO Richard Liu was taken into custody last week on suspicion of first-degree rape.n an explosive update regarding the
Minneapolis Police say that on Friday night they responded to a location and found JD.com CEO Liu Qiangdong (Richard Liu) with another individual. Bodycam footage was recorded and the officers took photos at the scene. Meanwhile, Liu was taken back to the station where he would spend the night in jail before being released the following afternoon.
Originally, police had said that Liu was arrested on suspicion of “criminal sexual conduct,” a broad term which could include a number of different forms of unwanted contact. On Tuesday, police released a report which said that Liu had been accused of “criminal sexual conduct – rape -completed.”
JD.com, Alibaba’s chief rival, has insisted that the allegations made against its 44-year-old founder and CEO are completely fraudulent and discredited. However, Minneapolis police say that they are conducting an active investigation into the accusations. Liu was released from police custody without bail or travel restrictions. By Tuesday, he was back in China.
No charges have been filed against Liu, but if charged and convicted, he could face up to 30 years in prison.
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. The two have been married since 2015 and have a daughter together.
Liu was in Minneapolis because he is enrolled in a doctorate of business administration program at University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. The program reportedly takes place mostly in Beijing and includes a number of middle-aged Chinese tycoons, but from August 26th to September 1st participants were in town as part of their residency.
According to online rumors, the allegations against Liu were made by a female Chinese student at the university. The alleged student’s name and photos have been circulating on Weibo with many a nasty comment made unfavorably comparing the woman’s appearance to that of Zhang Zetian.
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. Liu was not charged or accused of any misconduct, however, he did end up losing a legal battle to keep his name out of the court records and the papers.
JD.com has threatened legal action against those publishing false reports or rumors about Liu’s arrest. However, the tycoon has no way of keeping his name out of the media this time. At the moment, leaked photos of him in handcuffs are burning up the Chinese internet.