Billionaire internet entrepreneur arrested for sexual misconduct

Hennepin County Sheriff's Office

Tech billionaire and JD.com founder Richard Liu has returned to China, the company said Monday, following a brief arrest in the USA over allegations of criminal sexual conduct.

Liu, founder and CEO of Chinese online retailer JD.com, was arrested late Friday night in the midwestern city of Minneapolis and released Saturday afternoon.

A sheriff's jail roster record from Minnesota's Hennepin County showed a man surnamed Liu with the given name of Qiangdong, the Chinese name for Richard Liu, was detained on suspicion of criminal sexual conduct on August 31 at 11:32 p.m.

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Minneapolis police spokesman John Elder said Sunday that he couldn't provide any details because the investigation is considered active.

JD.com said in a statement Sunday on Chinese social media that Liu was falsely accused while on a business trip in the United States.

JD.com, has said that the accusation against Liu, 45, was unsubstantiated. The Chinese Consulate in Chicago is "closely following the relevant situation" and trying to verify facts regarding the situation, ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters at a daily briefing. Liu will continue his business trip as planned, the company said. Bloomberg estimates his net worth to be about $7.3 billion.

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JD.com is one of China's tech heavyweights, competing with larger rival Alibaba.

The company has been in and out of the red for the past year and last month reported a second-quarter net loss of $334.4 million - nearly twice market estimates - reflecting increased investment. He is also known for his marriage to Chinese internet celebrity Zhang Zetian. It showed Liu was "released pending complaint".

Liu recently tried to distance himself from a sexual assault allegations against a guest at a 2015 party at Liu's penthouse in Australia. The defendant was found guilty of seven offenses, according to a court document. "Mr. Liu has returned to work in China".

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