Chinese Billionaire Denies Wrongdoing in Sex Misconduct Arrest in Minneapolis, His Lawyers Say – Wall Street Journal

Liu Qiangdong, CEO of JD.com, speaks at the World Retail Congress in Madrid in April.

Liu Qiangdong, CEO of JD.com, speaks at the World Retail Congress in Madrid in April.


Photo:

Guo Qiuda/Zuma Press

JD.com
Inc.


JD 0.97%

Chief Executive Liu Qiangdong denies any wrongdoing in connection with his arrest on suspicion of sexual misconduct in Minneapolis, and it’s likely no charges will be filed, his attorneys said Monday.

Mr. Liu, 45, was taken into custody by Minneapolis police on Friday and released the next day. Police haven’t disclosed the nature of the sexual misconduct complaint, but have called it an “active investigation.”

“He was absolutely innocent of any wrongdoing in this case,” attorney Earl Gray said in a telephone interview. “Once the police realized it was a mistake to arrest him without proper evidence, they released him without bail and without taking his passport.”

Mr. Gray and attorney Joseph S. Friedberg said they met with Mr. Liu in the Hennepin County Jail in Minneapolis on Saturday afternoon after being retained as legal counsel. Both men are criminal defense lawyers in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.

“After I had been with him for a few minutes, a deputy put his head in the door and said to him, ‘You’re being released,’” Mr. Friedberg said, adding that Mr. Liu is now back in China.

“He was free to go back to his homeland China,” Mr. Gray said. “It’s very unusual and virtually tells us that no charges will be brought against him.”

Both attorneys said they didn’t have specific knowledge of the complaint against Mr. Liu. Mr. Gray said the two lawyers would represent Mr. Liu if charges were filed, but said “that’s a very remote possibility.”

Mr. Liu was in Minneapolis to attend a weeklong residency at the University of Minnesota from Aug. 26 to Sept. 1, where he is enrolled as a student with the Carlson School of Management’s China Doctor of Business Administration, the school said in a statement.

This photo provided by the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office shows Chinese billionaire Liu Qiangdong, the founder of JD.com, who was arrested in Minneapolis on suspicion of sexual misconduct.

This photo provided by the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office shows Chinese billionaire Liu Qiangdong, the founder of JD.com, who was arrested in Minneapolis on suspicion of sexual misconduct.


Photo:

/Associated Press

Carlson’s professional doctoral program, also called DBA degrees, was launched last year in partnership with China’s prestigious Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management in Beijing, where JD.com is based.

It’s tailored for top-level executives working full time in China, with most courses taught at Tsinghua and a summer residency program in Minneapolis.

Mr. Liu’s legal troubles have come at a time when his e-commerce company, JD.com, has been dealing with disappointing sales and ballooning research and development costs.

JD’s American depositary receipts have fallen 38% since hitting a record high in January, which has pushed the value of Mr. Liu’s position on paper down by about $4.3 billion, according to a Wall Street Journal calculation based on corporate filings.

Nasdaq-listed JD dropped 13% in August alone, its second worst month of the year. Analysts say the company has been hit by tougher competition by e-commerce giant

Alibaba Group Holding
Ltd.

, which has expanded its product lineup, and by weaker consumer demand as China’s economic growth cools.

“JD is going to be in a lot of trouble unless they change their business model,” said Shaun Rein, the managing director of China Market Research Group.

Adding to those worries are uncertainties as to how the criminal investigation into Mr. Liu will play out.

Mr. Liu’s company put out a statement Sunday saying “police quickly determined there was no substance to the claim against Mr. Liu,” but a Minneapolis police spokesman said there was an “active investigation” into sexual misconduct.

Earlier this year, Mr. Liu had another brush with notoriety when it was disclosed he was the secret host of a December 2015 birthday party in Sydney, Australia, for Chinese businessman Longwei Xu.

Mr. Xu was convicted by an Australian jury in July for sexually assaulting a model he met at the party. The woman, then 20, said she was forced to drink by men at the party, became very drunk and then was assaulted by Mr. Xu in his hotel room.

Mr. Liu wasn’t accused of wrongdoing, but had sought to block the release of his name, which the courts overturned. A spokesman for JD.com said at the time that Mr. Liu was “not implicated in any way” and that he had “expressed deep sympathy for the victim and profound sadness about the incident.”

“He was preparing food for the guests throughout the evening and was not present for most of the dinner. Further, the perpetrator was a casual acquaintance, and the crime was committed later that evening at a separate location,” the spokesman said.

Mr. Liu is one of China’s richest men, with a net worth that Forbes estimates at about $7.9 billion.

During an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos this January, he recounted how he tried starting a restaurant in college that eventually went belly up as he failed to juggle both his studies and business at the same time.

Undeterred by the experience, the only son in a family of three children decided to start his second business after graduation, cobbling together 12,000 yuan of his savings to found a company selling computer accessories from physical stores in Beijing’s famous technology district of Zhongguancun.

Write to Shan Li at shan.li@wsj.com and Steven Russolillo at steven.russolillo@wsj.com

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Criminal Minds season 15 release date: Will there be another series? – Express.co.uk

Long-running CBS police procedural drama Criminal Minds was renewed for a 14th season in May.

The series will start on Wednesday, October 3 at 10pm, and run for at least 15 episodes.

With the upcoming season shorter than a standard Criminal Minds season, many fans are concerned that the end is near for the show.

Will the show make it to season 15? Here’s what we know.

Will there be another series of Criminal Minds?

CBS have not yet confirmed whether there will be a Criminal Minds season 15.

Season 14 of the show was renewed in May for a 15-episode run.

This is the smallest number of episodes ever ordered for the series.

Every season previous to 14 has had at least 20 episodes, and every season since season three in 2007 have had at least 22 episodes.

The official reason for this is to allow the channel to feature more original programming.

CBS Entertainment president Kelly Kahl told Deadline: “As scheduling evolves and we try to get more original episodes on air, we have to cut and paste and sometimes trim episodes on some of those shows to get more originals on the air.”

However, Kahl did not rule out an extended season 14 at some point.

He added: “They possibly can get a couple of more episodes. It depends where they are in production, they will let us know.”

As for season 15, Kahl told TV Line the decision had not been made about whether season 14 would be the last.

He said: “We will have an honest discussion with them at the right time.”

If a 15th season is renewed, we will probably know in Spring 2019.

The previous three seasons were either renewed in April or May.

Then, if a 15th season is commissioned, it will be coming to screens in September or October 2019.

However, if season 14 is the final season of Criminal Minds, 2019 will see the end of two of CBS’ biggest shows.

In August, it was announced that The Big Bang Theory will be finishing in 2019 after star Jim Parsons reportedly turned down $50million for a further two seasons.

Who is in the cast of Criminal Minds season 15?

If season 15 is green-lit, it’s likely that most of the drama’s core cast members will be returning.

The casting, of course, will depend on what happens in the forthcoming run.

Fans can expect more of Joe Mantegna as David Rossi and Matthew Gray Gubler as Dr Spencer Reid.

Criminal Minds starts Wednesday, October 3 at 10pm on CBS

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