Chinese billionaire Richard Liu of JD.com arrested in Minneapolis

Chinese billionaire Richard Liu of JD.com arrested in Minneapolis

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.

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. He declined to provide details of the arrest.

But, contrary to the company's statement, Minneapolis police have not actually cleared Liu of wrongdoing and have instead said that they are now investigating the allegation against him.

Over the weekend, JD.com released a statement on Weibo defending Liu, claiming that the company's founder had been falsely accused and that police had found that no misconduct occurred.

The Nasdaq-listed JD.com has made headway in its battle with e-commerce giant Alibaba by operating its own logistics network and providing Chinese customers with same-day or next-day delivery for many of their purchases.

In addition, JD.com also threatened legal action against those publishing false reports and rumors.

In return, JD.com will join Google's shopping platform. Liu will continue his business trip as planned, the company said.

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The arrest comes shortly after Liu was in the spotlight for another incident involving sexual misconduct.

The New York Times reported Liu has returned to China where he has become the talk of the nation.

In July, a court in Australia denied Liu's efforts to block the release of his name in association with a sexual assault trial in which he was not accused of any wrongdoing, according to a court document.

JD.com, backed by Walmart Inc (WMT.N), Alphabet Inc's (GOOGL.O) Google, and China's Tencent Holdings (0700.HK), did not respond to requests for comment on Liu.

His wife, Zhang Zetian, some 19 years younger, is a businesswomen and internet celebrity.

An Australian court revealed in July that the chief executive had sought to hide information in the wake of a sexual assault that happened after a 2015 party at his Australian residence, according to the New York Times.

Longwei Xu, a property developer, was later found guilty of seven counts.

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