JD.com CEO, Under Investigation for Rape Allegation, Skips China Forum

September 17, 2018 Updated: September 17, 2018

SHANGHAIThe CEO of Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com, Richard Liu, will no longer appear at a high-profile state-run tech forum in Shanghai this week that he had earlier been scheduled to attend.

Liu was arrested on Aug. 31 in the U.S. state of Minnesota after an allegation of rape. He was released the following day without charge and without paying bail, but remains under investigation by U.S. police. He has, through his lawyers, denied any wrongdoing and returned to work in China.

A spokeswoman for the e-commerce giant said Liu would not attend the forum, but did not elaborate on the reason why. The event will run from Sept. 17 to Sept. 18. Liu’s name had been printed in the program and he had been named as a speaker.

U.S.-based lawyers for Liu could not immediately be reached for comment on Sept. 17.

Since returning to China, Liu has appeared at small signing events on behalf of the company but is yet to attend a high-profile public event.

The Shanghai forum is hosted by China‘s National Development and Reform Commission as well as the regime’s industry and cyberspace ministries, and is aimed at showcasing the country’s advances in artificial intelligence.

Other guest speakers include Alibaba Group Chairman Jack Ma, Tencent  CEO Pony Ma, and Baidu CEO Robin Li.

Local U.S. media and independent Chinese media confirmed that Liu was in the United States as a student at the University of Minneapolis, enrolled in a PhD course in business administration. On the eve of Aug. 31, Liu went to a local restaurant with 9 other people, including the alleged victim, a Chinese student and model attending the same university.

After the diners consumed 32 bottles of wine late into the night, Liu offered to drive the alleged victim back to her apartment.

Soon after, the alleged victim called the police to report that she had been raped, according to the source.

By Cate Cadell. Epoch Times staff member Nicole Hao contributed to this report.