China's JD.com founder returns to Beijing after USA arrest

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Liu Qiandong (Richard Liu), the 44-year-old founder and CEO of JD.com, was brought into a police station in Minneapolis at 11:32 pm on August 31st on suspicion of "criminal sexual conduct".

Liu, 45, the founder of the Beijing-based e-commerce site JD.com, was released on Saturday afternoon pending possible criminal charges, Hennepin County Jail records showed.

He was arrested shortly before midnight local time on Friday and was released just after 4pm on Saturday, according to the website of the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office.

A Minneapolis police department spokesman declined to provide further details about the reasons for the arrest, adding authorities decided not to keep Liu in custody.

"Mr Liu Qiangdong encountered a false accusation while on business in the U.S.", the company said in a statement on the Chinese microblogging platform Weibo.

The Nasdaq-listed JD.com has made headway in its battle with e-commerce giant Alibaba by operating its own logistics network and providing Chinese customers with same-day or next-day delivery for many of their purchases. He said that it was an "active investigation" but that no formal complaint had been filed.

'We are excited to partner with JD.com and explore new solutions for retail ecosystems around the world to enable helpful, personalized and frictionless shopping experiences that give consumers the power to shop wherever and however they want, ' Google Chief Business Officer Philipp Schindler said in a statement at the time.

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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. The investigation remains active.

In June, Google said it would invest $550 million in JD.com.

Liu is registered as a student of the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management's doctor of business administration China programme. It appeared to contradict U.S. police by adding authorities found no evidence of misconduct and released Liu to continue his trip.

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.

Zhang, described by Chinese media as 24, shot to fame while a student in 2009 when a photo of her holding a cup of milk tea went viral, giving her the nickname "sister milk tea".

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

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