Chinese billionaire leaves United States after arrest on suspicion of sex assault

Billionaire and JD.com founder Richard Liu returned to China on Monday after a brief arrest in the U.S. for alleged sexual misconduct.

Founded in 1998, JD.com is an e-commerce juggernaut in China and the main competitor to industry leader Alibaba.

He was brought in by police in Minnesota late on Friday on an accusation of "criminal sexual conduct" and released more than 16 hours later, according to arrest records. Elder declined to provide any further details on the case to Business Insider "because this is an active criminal investigation".

A Minneapolis police department spokesperson said over the weekend the investigation was "active" but Liu hadn't been charged.

Nasdaq-listed JD.com said in a statement Sunday that Liu was falsely accused while in the USA on a business trip, and that police investigators found no misconduct and he would continue his journey as planned.

Major investors include Walmart, which owns a 10% stake, and Chinese tech giant Tencent, which holds 18%, according JD's latest annual report.

"He has been released without any charges and without requirement for bail", a spokeswoman for the company said in a statement.

'During a business trip to the United States, Mr Liu was questioned by police in Minnesota in relation to an unsubstantiated accusation, ' the company said.

"We don't know if there will be charges or not because we haven't concluded an investigation", Elder told Reuters on Sunday.

Liu built JD.com from scratch.

Liu was apparently in Minneapolis because he is enrolled as a student at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management in its Doctor of Business Administration China program.

The arrest comes after Liu recently tried to distance himself from a sexual assault allegations against a guest at a 2015 party at Liu's penthouse in Australia.

Zhang, described by Chinese media as 24, shot to fame while a student in 2009 when a photo of her holding a cup of milk tea went viral, giving her the nickname "sister milk tea".

Police in the U.S. haven't released the name of the complainant but Chinese social media users circulated photos of a young woman whom they said was the victim. The defendant was found guilty of seven offenses, according to a court document.


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