Chinese billionaire arrested in United States over sexual misconduct

Liu's Hennepin County Sheriff's Office Mugshot

One of China's richest businessmen, Liu Qiangdong, has returned home after his arrest for alleged sexual misconduct in the U.S. over the weekend, with the foreign ministry here saying on Monday it is "closely following" the matter.

- Chinese billionaire Liu Qiangdong, also known as Richard Liu, the founder of the Beijing-based e-commerce site JD.com, was arrested in Minneapolis on suspicion of criminal sexual conduct, jail records show. The alleged assault would be a felony, authorities said, declining to provide further detail. However, police have not set any travel restrictions on Liu. Liu, a married father-of-two, is said to be worth an estimated $7.9billion United States dollars.

China's foreign ministry said that it was looking into the circumstances surrounding the arrest of Liu.

"We are now seeking information and verification from the relevant USA departments", foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular Beijing news conference on Monday.

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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.

"The decision was made not to hold him in custody while we conducted the investigation", Elder told Fox 9.

The website of Hennepin county in Minnesota said Liu was released from custody on Saturday.

In return, JD.com will join Google's shopping platform. JD.com was quick to defend its leader, saying that law enforcement had grilled him over an "unsubstantiated accusation" and let him go when it determined there was "no substance".

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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.

While the doctoral program primarily takes place in Beijing in partnership with the prestigious Tsinghua University, the students were in the Twin Cities last week as part of their training.

The development remained Weibo's (Chinese Twitter) "hot topic" since Sunday.

JD.com is now China's second-largest e-commerce player behind Alibaba, and Liu's net worth is $7.9 billion, according to Forbes.

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

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