Tech billionaire returns to China after US arrest

Chinese billionaire arrested in Minneapolis

Liu Qiangdong, CEO of Chinese tech giant JD.com, in sex assault probe

A lawyer for JD.com Inc CEO Richard Liu, who was arrested on suspicion of criminal sexual misconduct in the USA state of Minnesota and later released, said on Monday that Liu denies any wrongdoing, and also said he does not expect charges to be brought against his client.

He was briefly arrested and held in Minneapolis Friday and released Saturday afternoon. He declined to provide further details.

Minneapolis police spokesman John Elder said Sunday that he couldn't provide any details because it remains an active investigation.

JD.com said Liu was on a business trip in the United States when he was questioned about an "unsubstantiated accusation", according to a statement posted Sunday to the Chinese social network Weibo.

The website of Hennepin county in Minnesota said Liu was released from custody on Saturday.

JD.com is among China's biggest online retailers and lauds itself as the first e-commerce company in the country to offer next-day delivery nationwide.

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Earl Gray, a Minneapolis-based lawyer for Liu, has said his client denies any wrongdoing. The company had 292.5 million active customer accounts in 2017 and reaped a net profit of 50.8 billion yuan, or $US7.8 billion, in its 2017 fiscal year, the company said in its annual statement.

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

Liu is registered as a student of the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management's doctor of business administration China programme. In addition, JD.com also threatened legal action against those publishing false reports and rumors. He is also known for his marriage to Chinese internet celebrity Zhang Zetian.

Liu's arrest comes as the billionaire is still trying to distance himself from a sexual assault that occurred at a party he hosted in his luxury Sydney penthouse in 2015.

Longwei Xu, a property developer, was later convicted of the crime.

"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.

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