Chinese billionaire CEO Richard Liu arrested in United States, accused of sexual offence

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The chief executive of China's JD.com, Liu Qiangdong, was briefly arrested in the United States on accusations of criminal sexual conduct.

Richard Liu, CEO and founder of China's e-commerce company JD.com, attends a France-Chinese forum on the applications of artificial intelligence at SOHO 3Q in Beijing, China January 9, 2018.

Liu, the 45-year-old chief executive and founder of the e-commerce giant JD.com, was released Saturday from the Hennepin County Jail, with booking records showing no posted bail.

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

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.

"I think there is a feeling in the company that we are morally superior to Alibaba", a company insider said, adding that Liu was "aggressive" but "generally very well liked".

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JD.com denied the charge against Liu. Liu was not charged or accused of any misconduct, however, he did end up losing a legal battle earlier this year to keep his name out of the records and the press. She met Liu while studying in the United States and married him in 2015. He declined to say where in Minneapolis Liu was arrested or what Liu was accused of doing.

Though police have released no details regarding the allegations against Liu, the Financial Times has reported that the case involves Liu and a Chinese student at the university, rumors that have also been spreading on Chinese social media.

"Born into a poor farming family in northern Jiangsu province, Liu is arguably less well-known outside China than his fellow billionaire countrymen like Alibaba Group Holding's Jack Ma Yun, Tencent Holdings' Pony Ma Huateng and Baidu's Robin Li Yanhong, who recently made the cover of Time magazine", Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported.

Longwei Xu, a property developer, was later convicted of the crime. The accusation could also be a test of JD.com's stability, as well as the ability of a Chinese technology company to rebound from the problems of its leaders.

Liu previously ran a chain of computer part stores in Beijing.

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