China

JD.com chief Liu Qiangdong will not face rape charges

CEO of JD.com Richard Liu Qiangdong attends a panel discussion in Beijing Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mr Liu's status as a "wealthy, foreign businessman" had nothing to do with the decision, prosecutors said

Liu Qiangdong, the chief executive of Chinese e-commerce company JD.com, will not face sexual assault charges after his arrest in the US in September.

Prosecutors said they had not found enough evidence to charge Mr Liu after he was accused of raping a Chinese student at the University of Minnesota.

He denied wrongdoing and was released less than a day later to return to China.

JD.com is one of China's largest e-commerce sites.

"As is the case in many sexual assault incidents, it was a complicated situation," Hennepin County attorney Mike Freeman announced in a statement.

The county said there were "profound evidentiary problems" which would have made proving the allegations in court "highly unlikely".

Mr Liu, 45, was taking courses at the university's Carlson School of Management when the allegations were made.

He and a group of friends went to a meal on 30 August which the young woman also attended.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mr Liu, also known as Richard Liu, was released the day after his arrest

Police were called to a friend of the woman's early on 31 August, and Mr Liu was arrested the following day.

Evidence from body cameras worn by the officers, however, "do not support criminal charges in this case," the statement said.

"It had nothing to do with Liu's status as a wealthy, foreign businessman," it added.

According to Forbes, Mr Liu currently has a net worth of $5.3bn (£4.2 bn).

His arrest caused shock in China, where people speculated on social media that Mr Liu had been set up.

The company has faced recent troubles, announcing in November that its customer base had shrunk for the first time since 2014.

Its shares hit an 18-month low the week after his arrest.

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