image

JD.com

JD.com billionaire Richard Liu’s wife, Zhang Zetian, hopes ‘clouds will part’ as husband’s sexual assault case continues

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 25 September, 2018, 6:42pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 September, 2018, 6:16pm

Zhang Zetian, the wife of JD.com chief executive Richard Liu Qiangdong, has commented on social media for the first time since her husband was arrested on suspicion of rape and later released by Minneapolis police.

Zhang, who married Liu in 2015, posted a photo on her WeChat Moments page showing two adult hands and a hand of a young child holding a mooncake, the traditional treat given out during the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival which was on Monday.

“As long as the whole family is together, life is complete. Hope that with perseverance the clouds will part to show the moon,” Zhang, 24, wrote in the photo caption.

The Mid-Autumn Festival, also called the Mooncake Festival, is celebrated by Chinese during a full moon in September and is a time for family and friends to gather. Zhang's spokeswoman was contacted for a response but declined to comment at this time.

The five-week long saga, sparked when a 21-year-old female University of Minnesota student filed a complaint to police, has dragged on without resolution, creating a cloud of uncertainly around the Nasdaq-listed Chinese e-commerce giant.

JD.com’s shares plunged 7.47 per cent on Monday after Reuters published a WeChat Moments post that showed the female student telling one of her friends that Liu had forced her to have sex with him.

According to Reuters, the woman also wrote: “He [Liu] will suppress it. You underestimate his power.”

Similar to Facebook’s timeline, WeChat Moments is a social-networking function where people can share text and pictures with captions.

The night JD.com’s billionaire founder Richard Liu was accused of rape

Liu’s lawyer said the allegation made by the woman in the WeChat post was false. “Richard maintains his innocence and has cooperated fully with the investigation,” lawyer Jill Brisbois said in a statement.

“We are not at liberty to share that evidence with the media right now, as other people are doing, because we respect and do not want to interfere with the judicial process. We have turned everything we have over to investigators.”

Last Thursday, the Minneapolis Police Department’s investigation into a sexual assault allegation against Liu was turned over to prosecutors.

Online fashion platform Farfetch, backed by JD.com, said in a regulatory filing last week that “any charges brought against Mr. Liu Qiangdong and related matters could result in negative media coverage, which may adversely impact our brand”.

JD.com’s shares have fallen 39 per cent over the past 12 months.