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Chinese billionaire leaves the U.S. despite arrest on suspicion of sexual assault chief executive Richard Liu was arrested in the in Minneapolis on Aug. 31 for suspicion of criminal sexual conduct. He was later released. (Video: Reuters)

BEIJING — Chinese billionaire and tech mogul Richard Qiangdong Liu returned to China on Monday, three days after Minneapolis police arrested him on suspicion of sexual assault.

 Liu, the 45-year-old chief executive and founder of e-commerce giant, was released Saturday from the Hennepin County Jail, with booking records showing no posted bail.

“He has been released without any charges and without requirement for bail,” spokeswoman Tracy Yang said. “Mr. Liu has returned to work in China.”

The Minneapolis Police Department had not yet decided Sunday whether it would bring charges against Liu, spokesman John Elder said. The alleged assault would be a felony, authorities said, declining to provide further details.

Liu was in the United States on business when he faced questions 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,” the statement read, “and he was subsequently able to resume his business activities as originally planned.” declined to elaborate on the event.

Liu’s attorneys in Minneapolis said he denied any wrongdoing.

“Under these circumstances, based on our substantial experience in the criminal justice system in Minnesota, charges are highly unlikely in the future to be brought against our client,” attorneys Earl Gray and Joseph Friedberg said in an email.

China’s Foreign Ministry said Monday it had launched an investigation into the circumstances of the chief executive’s arrest.

Investors flinched slightly at the news Friday of Liu’s arrest, but’s stock value had rebounded by the end of the day.

Chinese billionaire under investigation for suspicion of sexual assault in Minneapolis is among China’s biggest online retailers and lauds itself as the first Internet commerce company in the country to offer next-day delivery nationwide. 

Liu is known for pushing the company toward “100 percent” automation and speaking at global conferences about reducing the need for workers. is now testing drone deliveries in rural areas and recently unveiled a robot-run warehouse in Shanghai that can package 200,000 orders per day with the help of only four human engineers.

Google announced in June that it had invested $550 million in the firm, which plans to expand in the United States and compete with (Amazon founder and chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

The Minneapolis arrest was not the only harsh spotlight on Liu this year. 

An Australian court revealed in July that the chief executive had sought to conceal information in the wake of a sexual assault that happened after a 2015 party at his Australian residence, according to the New York Times.

Longwei Xu, a property developer, was later convicted of the crime. 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 business executive Zhang Zetian, another celebrity figure. 

The judge denied his request.

As aims to spread beyond Asia, Liu has lately sought to raise his profile among global business leaders.

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

Liu previously ran a chain of computer part stores. He told the Davos crowd he was inspired to start his online shopping platform in 2004 after an outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome hit China and threatened the health of his employees.

“I felt that e-commerce would be the trend for the future,” he said at the time.

Alex Horton in Washington and Emily Rauhala in Beijing contributed to this report.

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