Published: Thu, September 06, 2018
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

Briefing: More details on JD boss Liu's arrest emerge

Briefing: More details on JD boss Liu's arrest emerge

It appeared to contradict USA police by adding authorities found no evidence of misconduct and released Liu to continue his trip. He was released Saturday.

When Richard Liu, the billionaire founder of Chinese e-commerce site JD.com, was arrested last week, Minneapolis police did not confirm the specifics of the alleged sexual misconduct case.

A spokesman for the police department has told Caixin that the investigation is ongoing, and the results could be announced as early as Friday. The jail records do not provide details of the alleged incident. "The local police quickly determined there was no substance to the claim against Mr. Liu, and he was subsequently able to resume his business activities as originally planned". Gray said he and Friedberg would represent Liu if charges are filed, but called that prospect "a very remote possibility".

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JD's American depositary receipts fell $1.87 per share, or 5.97 percent, to close at $29.43 per share in Nasdaq trading, its lowest share price since February 2017, after Liu was held in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in the United States, on suspicion of criminal sexual misconduct and later released without any charges or bail.

Nasdaq-listed JD.com said in a statement Sunday that Liu was falsely accused while in the US on a business trip, and that police investigators found no misconduct and he would continue his journey as planned.

After Liu's release from jail, JD.com's official account on microblogging platform Weibo refuted the "unsubstantiated accusations" against him.

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The U.S. and China do not have an extradition treaty.

If the USA police accuse Liu, the company's share price would continue to fall, but it was predicted that there would not be a sharp crash due to an already sharp decline this year, Reuters quoted Danny Law, an analyst at brokerage Guotai Junan as saying.

JD.com's shares, now valued at some US$42 billion, have lost around 30% since the start of the year on weaker sales amid stiff competition from much bigger rival Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. JD's Chief Financial Officer Sidney Huang used the August earnings call to flag 2018 as "an investment year" for the online retailer's logistics division, as it builds more warehouses and acquires new technologies.

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Since JD's listing in 2014, Liu has become one of China's richest and most influential men, with a net worth of about $7.9 billion, according to Forbes. The case involved a guest at a party Liu hosted at his home in Sydney who accused another guest of sexually assault.

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