JD.com CEO will not face assault charges in Minnesota

(Reuters) - Minnesota prosecutors will not charge the chief executive officer of China's JD.com Inc , Richard Liu, after he was accused of rape by a University of Minnesota student during a recent U.S. visit, authorities said on Friday.

Reuters December 22, 2018 03:05:07 IST
JD.com CEO will not face assault charges in Minnesota

JDcom CEO will not face assault charges in Minnesota

(Reuters) - Minnesota prosecutors will not charge the chief executive officer of China's JD.com Inc , Richard Liu, after he was accused of rape by a University of Minnesota student during a recent U.S. visit, authorities said on Friday.

Hennepin County Attorney Michael Freeman said there were "profound evidentiary problems which would have made it highly unlikely that any criminal charge could be proven beyond a reasonable doubt."

In a statement, Freeman said that after an investigation by Minneapolis police and a review by four senior sexual assault prosecutors, it was clear his office could not meet its burden of proof, and therefore could not bring charges.

"Because we do not want to re-victimize the young woman, we will not be going into detail," Freeman said.

Liu, a 45-year-old billionaire who maintains tight control of JD.com, was released without charge about 17 hours after he was arrested on Aug. 31 and quickly returned to China, where he has continued to run the company. His representatives have maintained his innocence after the woman from China studying at the University of Minnesota accused him of rape.

JD.com shares extended gains on Friday and were up 5.8 percent after news spread of the decision not to prosecute.

The case had attracted extreme interest in China.

Liu, also known as Liu Qiangdong, grew JD.com from a humble electronics stall to an e-commerce giant with 2017 net revenue of $55.7 billion, partnering with Alphabet Inc’s , Google, Walmart Inc and Tencent Holdings Ltd <0700.HK>.

The decision not to bring charges was a big relief for Liu, who could have faced as many as 30 years in prison under Minnesota law if convicted of first-degree criminal sexual misconduct.

On Friday, Freeman said the three months it took his office to review Lui's case was not unusual for a sexual assault investigation, especially one in which no one was in custody.

"It had nothing to do with Liu's status as a wealthy, foreign businessman," Freeman said in his statement.

Reuters previously reported details of what happened while Liu was in Minneapolis, including a description of the alleged rape and events around it given by the now-22-year-old student.

Usually based in Beijing, Liu made the U.S. trip for a weeklong residency programme at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management, which runs a doctor of business administration programme with China's elite Tsinghua University.

The University of Minnesota said it had no comment on Friday's announcement by authorities.

The decision to not prosecute followed criticism of Minneapolis authorities, including Freeman's office, for what some see as a failure to pursue sexual assault cases adequately.

A recent investigation by the Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper found that only one in four sexual assault cases in Minnesota is ever referred to a county attorney, and that prosecutors reject half the cases police send them. In August, Freeman called the series "a good wake-up call" and pledged to strengthen sexual assault investigations.

(Reporting by Dan Burns; Additional reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Writing by Daniel Wallis; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Leslie Adler)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

Oil rises 2% as OPEC complies with production cuts
Business

Oil rises 2% as OPEC complies with production cuts

By Jessica Resnick-Ault NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices strengthened on Wednesday, as OPEC and its allies were seen complying with a pact to cut oil supply in September, even as concerns loomed that recovery in fuel demand will be stalled by soaring global coronavirus cases. Early in the day crude was boosted by a bullish stock market. Even as equities whipsawed on pandemic worries, oil stayed higher, buoyed by expectations that OPEC could staunch a supply glut

Tesla's back-to-back price cuts bring sticker on U.S. Model S below $70,000
Business

Tesla's back-to-back price cuts bring sticker on U.S. Model S below $70,000

By Tina Bellon and C Nivedita (Reuters) - Tesla Inc will further cut the price of its Model S "Long Range" sedan in the United States to $69,420, the electric carmaker's chief executive, Elon Musk, announced in a tweet https://bit.ly/2H0JCP0 on Wednesday. The anticipated drop marks the second time this week Tesla has cut the price for the high-end sedan, following a 4% cut of the Model S's price in the United States on Tuesday to $71,990.

Trump cites teenaged son's bout with coronavirus in calling for schools to reopen
World

Trump cites teenaged son's bout with coronavirus in calling for schools to reopen

By Jeff Mason DES MOINES, Iowa (Reuters) - Under siege over his handling of the novel coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump on Wednesday cited what he said was his son's mild bout of the virus as a reason why American schools should reopen as soon as possible. Trump made the comment about his son, Barron, as the president swept into Iowa on a mission to shore up support in battleground states that he won in 2016 but is in danger of losing to Democrat Joe Biden barely three weeks before the election. First lady Melania Trump announced in a statement earlier in the day that the virus that struck both her and her husband had also infected their 14-year-old son