Published: Mon, September 03, 2018
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

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

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

JD.com said Mr Liu, also known as Richard Liu, was falsely accused.

He was arrested shortly before midnight local time on Friday and was released just after 4 p.m. on Saturday, according to the website of the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office.

However Minneapolis Police Department spokesman John Elder said that an investigation was ongoing and declined to provide details of the arrest. Liu will continue his business trip as planned, the company said.

In a statement posted on Chinese social media network Weibo, JD.com confirmed that Mr Liu had been arrested over what it described as a false allegation during a business trip.

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The Chinese e-commerce firm JD.com has alliances with Tencent and Walmart.

In June, Google announced it would invest more than half a billion dollars into JD.com as part of a move to expand retail services around the world.

JD.com, which stands for Jingdong, is the rival of the popular Chinese e-commerce site Alibaba Group led by CEO Daniel Zhang. Liu, who is worth an estimated $7.3 billion, owns 16 percent of the company and has vast control over major business decisions.

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

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JD said it planned to make a selection of items available for sale in places like Europe and the United States through Google Shopping, which allows shoppers to search for products and compare prices on different e-commerce sites.

Liu is the highest-profile Chinese businessperson to be accused of sexual misconduct. In 2015, a model said she was sexually assaulted by a man after they had partied at Liu's Australian penthouse.

Liu has not been charged with a crime or accused of any wrongdoing in that case.

Legal troubles for Liu could darken perceptions overall of JD.com, whose shares trade on the Nasdaq stock market in NY and have a market value of around US$50 billion.

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