Police in US probe JD.com CEO over sexual misconduct accusation

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A Chinese billionaire has been arrested in Minneapolis on suspicion of criminal sexual conduct.

JD.com, one of China's tech heavyweights, competes with larger rival Alibaba Group (BABA.N), and Liu has a net worth of $7.9 billion, according to Forbes.

Liu, 45, was arrested on August 31, 2018 by the Minneapolis police for alleged sexual misconduct and released the following afternoon.

Chinese billionaire arrested in Minneapolis

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

Over the weekend, JD.com released a statement on Weibo defending Liu, claiming that the company's founder had been falsely accused and that police had found that no misconduct occurred.

JD.com's rules require Liu, who holds almost 80 percent of the company's voting rights, to be present at board meetings for the board to make decisions, although it was not immediately clear if he has to be physically present or could participate by teleconference.

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Liu is the founder of JD.com, one of China's most popular e-commerce sites. JD.com was quick to defend its leader, saying that law enforcement had grilled him over an "unsubstantiated accusation" and let him go when it determined there was "no substance".

He attended the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland for the first time this year and shared parts of his life story at the alpine gathering of executives, politicians and Hollywood celebrities.

That proved key to JD.com's rise, culminating in its listing in the United States in 2014. "Mr. Liu has returned to work in China".

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Though police have released no details regarding the allegations against Liu, the Financial Times has reported that the case involves Liu and a Chinese student at the university, rumors that have also been spreading on Chinese social media.

JD.com is 10 percent owned by Walmart, while Chinese internet firm Tencent owns 18 percent. In 2015, a model said she was sexually assaulted by a man after they had partied at Liu's Australian penthouse. A guest at the party, Longwei Xu, was found guilty this July of seven charges, including having sex with his accuser without her consent.

He has a sociology degree from Beijing's prestigious Renmin University and is a delegate to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), an important advisory body to the government.

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