- The founder and CEO of the Chinese e-commerce company JD.com was arrested in Minneapolis on Friday on suspicion of sexual misconduct.
- Liu Qiangdong was released about 16 hours later. The investigation remains active.
- He had been in the US on a business trip.
- JD.com said the accusations were false and unsubstantiated.
Liu Qiangdong, one of the richest men in China, was arrested on sexual-misconduct allegations over the weekend during a trip to the US.
Liu, the founder and CEO of the e-commerce company JD.com, was arrested at about 11:30 p.m. on Friday and released shortly after 4 p.m. on Saturday, according to Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office records.
The Minneapolis police arrested the 44-year-old on suspicion of criminal sexual conduct, the jail records said. It was unclear what specifically he was being accused of.
John Elder, a police spokesman, declined to provide any further details of the case or circumstances of the arrest because the investigation was still considered active, according to the Associated Press.
JD.com on Sunday said Liu had been falsely accused.
“Mr Liu Qiangdong encountered a false accusation while on business in the US,” the company said in a statement on the Chinese microblogging platform Weibo. “An investigation by local police did not find any evidence of misconduct, and he will continue his trip as planned. We will take the necessary legal action against false reporting or rumors.”
Elder also told the BBC: “There is absolutely no restriction on his travel. The understanding is that if we need to get in touch with him, we will be able to do so.”
Liu’s arrest came shortly after he tried to distance himself from a different sexual-misconduct scandal. In late July he said he didn’t know anything about a sexual assault that was alleged to have taken place after a party he hosted in Sydney in 2015. He was not accused of any wrongdoing in that case.
Liu, also known as Richard, has a net worth of $10.8 billion, or £8.4 billion, according to Forbes. He was named by the latest Forbes billionaire list as the 16th-richest person in China and the 140th-richest person in the world.
JD.com is the second-largest Chinese e-commerce company after Alibaba. The company had 292.5 million active customer accounts in 2017 and reaped a net profit of 50.8 billion yuan, or $7.8 billion, in its 2017 fiscal year, the company said in its annual statement.
Liu is married to Zhang Zetian, who at 24 is China’s youngest female billionaire.