Chinese billionaire arrested in US over sexual misconduct allegations

JD.com founder Richard Liu attends a business forum in Hong Kong, China June 9, 2017. (REUTERS)
Updated 03 September 2018
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Chinese billionaire arrested in US over sexual misconduct allegations

  • Founded in 1998, the Fortune Global 500 company is China’s second-largest e-commerce firm and an aggressive competitor of Alibaba

WASHINGTON: Chinese e-commerce billionaire Liu Qiangdong — also known as Richard Liu — was briefly arrested in the midwestern US city of Minneapolis over allegations of criminal sexual conduct, authorities said.
Records from Hennepin County Jail showed Liu, founder and CEO of Chinese online retail giant JD.com, was arrested over the misconduct allegations late Friday night and released Saturday afternoon.
The Minneapolis Police Department said the investigation remained active and would not confirm details of the arrest or the allegations against the 45-year-old Liu.
“The individual was arrested Friday evening and released Saturday afternoon. He was released pending formal complaint,” Public Information Officer John Elder told AFP.
In the state of Minnesota, “criminal sexual conduct” encompasses a broad spectrum of nonconsensual sexual activity.
In a statement posted on Chinese social media network Weibo, JD.com confirmed that Liu had been arrested over what it described as a false allegation during a business trip.
The statement, contradicting US police, added authorities found no evidence of misconduct and released Liu to continue his trip.
Founded in 1998, the Fortune Global 500 company is China’s second-largest e-commerce firm and an aggressive competitor of Alibaba.
The company says it offers a “one stop” shopping experience to over 300 million active customers in China, with same- and next day-delivery as standard.
In June, Google announced it would invest more than half a billion dollars into JD.com as part of a move to expand retail services around the world.
The firms will marry JD’s supply chain and logistics experience with Google technology to create “next generation” personalized retail in regions including Southeast Asia, the US and Europe, both companies said in a statement.


Venezuela’s deputy UN military attache backs Guaido

Maduro says Guaido is leading a US-directed coup against him. (AFP)
Updated 21 February 2019
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Venezuela’s deputy UN military attache backs Guaido

  • Chirinos has called Maduro’s government “illegally constituted.”

WASHINGTON: Venezuela’s deputy UN military attache, Col. Pedro Chirinos, said in a video on social media that he recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country’s interim president, increasing pressure on President Nicolas Maduro.
US President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, highlighted Chirinos’ announcement in a note posted on Twitter on Wednesday but misidentified him as the military attache to the United Nations.
“Venezuela’s military attache to the United Nations, Col. Pedro Chirinos, has announced his official recognition of Juan Guaido as Interim President of Venezuela,” Bolton said in his note.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said he was not aware of any notifications from the Venezuelan UN mission on changes to its delegation.
In a video shared by Bolton on Twitter, Chirinos identified himself and called Maduro’s government “illegally constituted,” while dressed in a military uniform and standing in front of the flags of Venezuela and the United Nations.
“I recognize, and offer my support and obedience, to the transition government led by the president, Juan Guaido,” Chirinos said.
The United States and scores of other countries have openly backed Guaido, who last month invoked constitutional provisions to assume the interim presidency after declaring Maduro’s re-election last year illegitimate.
Maduro retains the support of Russia and China and control of Venezuelan state institutions, including the security services. He says Guaido is leading a US-directed coup against him.