September 17, 2018 / 5:56 PM / 2 years ago CEO, under investigation for rape allegation, skips China forum

FILE PHOTO: Richard Liu, CEO and founder of China's e-commerce company, attends a session of the second annual World Internet Conference in Wuzhen town of Jiaxing, Zhejiang province, China, December 16, 2015. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - The CEO of Chinese e-commerce giant, 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 and 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 Monday to Wednesday. 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 Monday.

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 its industry and cyberspace ministries, and is aimed at showcasing China’s growing prowess in artificial intelligence.

Other guest speakers include Alibaba Group Holding Ltd Chairman Jack Ma and Tencent Holdings Ltd chief Pony Ma as well as Baidu Inc CEO Robin Li.

Reporting by Cate Cadell; Editing by Edwina Gibbs and Alexander Smith

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