Chinese billionaire and tech company executive Liu Qiangdong was arrested Friday night in Minneapolis on suspicion of sexual assault and later released as an investigation continues, authorities said.
Liu, the 45-year-old chief executive and founder of the e-commerce giant JD.com, was arrested and detained Friday night at the Hennepin County Jail, according to booking records. He was released after 4 p.m. Saturday, with records showing no posted bail.
The Minneapolis Police Department has not yet determined whether it will bring charges, spokesman John Elder told The Washington Post on Sunday. Authorities said the alleged crime would be a felony.
Elder declined to provide details about the allegations but said authorities are not overly concerned about Liu leaving the country. Elder said it is his understanding that Liu is still in the United States.
"We’re familiar with [Liu's] means and abilities. We are confident if we need to have further discussions with him, we will be able to have those discussions," Elder said.
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 local police quickly determined there was no substance to the claim against Mr. Liu, and he was subsequently able to resume his business activities as originally planned,” according to the statement.
Chuck Laszewski, a spokesman for the Hennepin County attorney's office, said it was unusual for a detainee to be released so quickly after a Friday night arrest, especially before a holiday weekend. But he said he did not know the circumstances of the release and has not heard whether charges are on the way for Liu, who is also known as Richard Liu.
JD.com is one of China’s largest online retailers. JD, also known as Jingdong, is famous for ultrafast delivery of everything from groceries to office supplies to clothing. They even deliver by drone.
In June, Google announced a $550 million investment in the company. In return, JD.com will join Google’s shopping platform. The companies will also partner on retail projects in United States, Europe and Southeast Asia, potentially helping JD grow beyond China and compete with the likes of Amazon. (Jeffrey P. Bezos, the chief executive of Amazon.com, owns The Washington Post.)
Earlier this year, Liu attempted to suppress information about a sexual assault that occurred after a 2015 party at his Australian home, the New York Times reported.
Longwei Xu, a property developer, was later found guilty of seven counts. 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. A judge denied his request in July.