JD.com CEO Richard Liu Was Arrested—Then Released—in a Sexual Misconduct Case That Remains Active

September 3, 2018, 8:50 AM UTC

Richard Liu, the CEO of the Chinese e-commerce powerhouse JD.com, spent around 16 hours in a Minnesota jail after being accused of sexual misconduct.

The billionaire, whose non-Westernized name is Liu Qiangdong, was arrested just before midnight on Friday and released Saturday afternoon. According to the Wall Street Journal, Liu was held on probable cause and released without bail.

JD.com said Liu had been subject to a false accusation while in the U.S. on business, and “local police quickly determined there was no substance to the claim.” However, the case is still active—and Minneapolis Police Department spokesman John Elder told the Journal that Liu was “released pending formal complaint.”

“We made the decision to release him, that is not indicative of the strength of the evidence,” Elder 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.”

“Mr. Liu has returned to work in China,” a JD.com spokesperson said Monday.

The company did not say what Liu was doing in Minnesota, although he is reportedly a student in a Doctor of Business Administration program at the University of Minnesota, which runs the course in conjunction with the Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management in Beijing.

According to Reuters, Liu’s mugshot was the most-discussed topic on the Chinese Weibo social medial platform on Monday. The #MeToo movement has been gaining traction in China, although with some difficulty due to government censorship.

Liu founded JD.com two decades ago. Today it is one of China’s largest ecommerce operations, with investors including Tencent, Walmart and Alphabet.

This article was updated as further details came in.

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