JD.com drops as new WeChat messages emerge following CEO's rape accusations
Shares of JD.com (JD) dropped after WeChat messages emerged following rape accusations against JD's CEO. BACKGROUND: JD.com CEO Liu Qiangdong, also known as Richard Liu, was arrested on August 31 in Minnesota on suspicion of rape and was released the following day without charge and without paying bail, but remains under investigation by U.S. police. He has denied any wrongdoing and returned to work in China. Last week, The Associated Press, citing Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, said Minneapolis police have finished their investigation into a sexual assault allegation against Liu and have turned the case over to prosecutors, who will review the evidence and make a decision on whether to bring charges against the executive. According to a recent Reuters report, control in JD held by Liu has raised eyebrows given company rules that make it virtually impossible for the board to make decisions without him present. NEW DETAILS EMERGE: A new report from Reuters reveals new details of the events leading up to and after the alleged assault. Liu's accuser, a 21-year-old student attending the University of Minnesota, whose WeChat messages have been reviewed by the news agency, wrote in Chinese on the messaging application on August 31 to a friend that she "was not willing," begging a friend note to call police by saying "Tomorrow I will think of a way to escape." "He will suppress it," she wrote, referring to Liu. "You underestimate his power." According to Reuters, Liu, who is attending a business doctoral program at the university, met the female student at a party he threw on August 30 in a Japanese restaurant in Minneapolis that included about two dozen people, including around 20 men. The group brought at least one case of wine to drink during the dinner, and the woman told her friend through WeChat that she felt pressure to drink that evening. "It was a trap... I was really drunk," she wrote. When the party ended around 9:30 pm, Liu and the woman headed to a house rented by one of his classmates before he pulled her into his hired car, a person with knowledge of the incident said. During the drive, Liu began touching the woman, the student said, telling a friend in a WeChat message "I begged him not to... but he did not listen." Liu reportedly raped the woman around 1:00 am, according to the police report. Liu was arrested later that day, and a lawyer for the executive says he has cooperated fully with the investigation. "These allegations are inconsistent with evidence that we hope will be disclosed to the public once the case is closed," Jill Brisbois, a lawyer for Liu, told Reuters. PRICE ACTION: Shares of JD.com trading in New York are down 4.85% to $25.21 in morning trading.