Published: Mon, September 03, 2018
World News | By Laverne Osborne

JD.com's billionaire CEO released after US arrest

JD.com's billionaire CEO released after US arrest

Chinese e-commerce billionaire Liu Qiangdong - also known as Richard Liu - was briefly arrested in the midwestern United States city of Minneapolis over allegations of criminal sexual conduct, authorities said.

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.

Chinese billionaire Liu Qiangdong, also known as Richard Liu, was arrested in Minneapolis on Friday night on suspicion of criminal sexual conduct, jail records showed.

Minneapolis police said they were releasing no further information on the case as it remained active.

"Such allegations about Liu Qiangdong sexually assaulting female students are inaccurate, and the CEO will continue his trip in the U.S. as planned", said the statement, adding JD.com will take legal action against "false reports and rumor mongering".

JD.com, the company in which Liu has a large controlling stake, told the Reuters news agency on Monday that he was back in China and back at work.

The firms will marry JD's supply chain and logistics experience with Google technology to create "next generation" personalised retail in regions including Southeast Asia, the United States and Europe, both companies said in a statement.

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JD.com denied the charge against Liu. Liu wasn't involved, but he unsuccessfully asked the court to hide his name out of concerns for his business and marriage.

However, officials from JD.com said that Liu was falsely accused and his arrest was based on unsubstantiated accusation.

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

Liu started the company that would become JD.com (JD.O) in 1998, spending 12,000 yuan ($1,760.54) of his savings to lease a 4-square-meter retail space in Beijing's technology hub of Zhongguancun.

Major investors include Walmart, which owns a 10% stake, and Chinese tech giant Tencent, which holds 18%, according JD's latest annual report. The defendant was found guilty of seven offences.

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.

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