JD.com founder Richard Liu Qiangdong, who was arrested and then released in the US last week after being accused of rape, “is willing to cooperate further if requested”, the company said on its website.
“Mr. Liu has cooperated with Minneapolis law enforcement and is willing to cooperate further if requested,” according to an update posted on JD.com’s corporate blog, dated September 6.
JD.com also said that there has been no interruption of the company's day-to-day business operations and that Liu has resumed work. “The situation in Minnesota did not have, and is not expected to have, any impact on JD.com’s day-to-day operations,” said the company in the blog update.
Liu, the 45-year-old billionaire and cjief executive of China’s second largest e-commerce player, returned to the country on Monday and turned up for work at JD.com’s Beijing headquarters the following day for the signing of a strategic partnership with Chinese textile manufacturer Ruyi Group. Liu was arrested on August 31 by Minneapolis police on a rape accusation, a first-degree felony if the founder of JD.com is charged with the crime, according to police records. No charge has been filed against Liu as the matter is still under investigation by the sex crimes division of the Minneapolis Police Department.
Liu’s return to China and resumption of his duties has failed to reassure some investors – with its ADRs tumbling 10.6 per cent in Nasdaq trading to US$26.30 on Wednesday before a slight rebound of 3.6 per cent on Thursday.
JD.com may also face class action lawsuits, with several US law firms alleging that the company may have failed to disclose information pertinent to the arrest of its chief executive. The Schall Law Firm, Pomerantz LLP and Rosen Law Firm all said separately on Tuesday they are investigating potential securities claims on behalf of shareholders of JD.com.
“We are aware that a few class action law firms have publicly announced a desire to represent shareholders,” said JD.com on its corporate blog. “We are aware of no lawsuits being filed against the company though – and if filed – we will contest the allegations vigorously.”
In JD.com’s corporate blog update, the company said for the first time that Liu had been arrested last week on “suspicion of criminal sexual misconduct” by US police, before being released without charge. Previous statements from the company mentioned that Liu had been “questioned by police in Minnesota in relation to a false accusation”.
Liu himself has yet to make a personal statement regarding the events of August 31.
He was in Minneapolis to take classes at the University of Minnesota, where he was enrolled at the Carlson School of Management to complete the American residency of a US-China business administration doctorate programme.