JD.com Founder Richard Liu Returns To China After US Arrest

Jermaine Castillo
September 4, 2018

Liu's company released a statement that denied he had done anything wrong.

Investors flinched slightly at the news Friday of Liu's arrest, but JD.com stock value had rebounded by the end of the day.

He was detained over a sexual-misconduct allegation, which his company says is unfounded.

A spokeswoman for the University of Minnesota said Liu, who is enrolled as a student with the Carlson School of Management's doctor of business administration China program, was in Minneapolis to attend a weeklong residency, from August 26 to September 1. The alleged assault would be a felony, authorities said, declining to provide further detail.

The Minneapolis arrest wasn't the only harsh spotlight on Liu this year.

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Liu, founder and CEO of Chinese online retailer JD.com, was arrested late Friday night in the midwestern city of Minneapolis and released Saturday afternoon.

Minneapolis police said on Sunday that "an active investigation" was underway, although it was possible for the billionaire founder of the firm to leave the United States.

JD.com said in a statement on Sunday that Liu was falsely accused while in the United States for a business trip and police found no evidence of misconduct.

As JD.com aims to spread beyond Asia, Liu has lately sought to raise his profile among global business leaders.

JD.com said the accusations were false and unsubstantiated.

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Boasting backers that include Google, Walmart, and Tencent, the company claims 300 million active users and a net revenue of 362.3 billion yuan ($53 billion) in 2017.

The University of Minnesota said Liu, whose Chinese name is Liu Qiangdong, was a student in its doctor of business administration program, which primarily takes place in Beijing in partnership with the prestigious Tsinghua University and is aimed at full-time executives.

Liu, the founder and CEO of Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com, is estimated to be the 16th-richest man in China.

His wife, Zhang Zetian, some 19 years younger, is a businesswomen and internet celebrity. Police did not find evidence of his wrongdoing and he was released without bail.

The arrest comes after Liu recently tried to distance himself from a sexual assault allegations against a guest at a 2015 party at Liu's penthouse in Australia.

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