Police in the US state of Minnesota detained and later released a person whose name and birth date match those of JD.com Inc.'s founder and CEO for criminal sexual conduct, following Chinese media reports of such actions against Richard Liu.
A Chinese billionaire was arrested in Minnesota on suspicion of criminal sexual conduct, police said Sunday.
But, contrary to the company's statement, Minneapolis police have not actually cleared Liu of wrongdoing and have instead said that they are now investigating the allegation against him.
In a statement posted on Chinese social media network Weibo, JD.com confirmed that Mr Liu had been arrested over what it described as a false allegation during a business trip.
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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.
There is also no clear successor to Liu, who is both chairman and chief executive, even as JD.com faces an escalating battle with Alibaba and has seen its shares fall 24 percent this year. He declined to say where in the city Liu was arrested or what he was accused of doing.
Liu's company released a statement that denied he had done anything wrong. Liu, who was not accused of wrongdoing, had asked an Australian court to keep his name from public view, arguing association with the incident could hurt his business and marriage to the business executive Zhang Zetian, another celebrity figure. The two tech firms plan to join forces to sell goods online across Southeast Asia, the United States and Europe in order to better compete with rivals like Amazon and Alibaba.
The University of Minnesota said Liu was a student in its China-focused doctor of business administration program for senior executives. "Mr. Liu has returned to work in China". A guest at the party, Longwei Xu, was found guilty this July of seven charges, including having sex with his accuser without her consent.