Tech billionaire returns to China after US arrest

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A Chinese billionaire who founded the Beijing-based e-commerce site JD.com was arrested on Friday night during a trip to Minnesota on accusations of criminal sexual misconduct.

Also known as Richard Liu, the founder of the Beijing-based e-commerce site was arrested in Minneapolis late Friday on suspicion of criminal sexual conduct, according to Hennepin County Jail records.

A spokesman for the Minneapolis police department said that Mr Liu was released "pending formal complaint".

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

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.

"We made the decision to release him, that is not indicative of the strength of the evidence", John Elder, police public information officer, told the BBC.

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'During a business trip to the United States, Mr Liu was questioned by police in Minnesota in relation to an unsubstantiated accusation, ' the company said. "We are confident if we need to have further discussions with him, we will be able to have those discussions", Elder said.

Liu's arrest came shortly after he tried to distance himself from a different sexual-misconduct scandal.

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

China's Foreign Ministry said Monday it had launched an investigation into the circumstances of the chief executive's arrest. While Liu was not accused of wrongdoing, he asked an Australian court to block release of his name, citing potential harm to his company and marriage, the Times reported.

"If the board isn't quorate without Richard Liu, if he is unable to attend, and if there are no other provisions that offer a way round that, the company could become ungovernable", he said.

In June, Google announced it would invest more than half a billion dollars in JD.com as part of a move to expand retail services around the world. In July, a judge in Australia rejected his request for a suppression order. In addition, JD.com also threatened legal action against those publishing false reports and rumors.

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