Chinese e-commerce billionaire arrested for sexual misconduct in US, released next day

Richard Liu, founder and CEO of Inc. was arrested in Minnesota over the weekend

Liu's Hennepin County Sheriff's Office Mugshot

Liu's Hennepin County Sheriff's Office Mugshot (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The chief executive of China’s e-commerce platform Inc., Richard Liu (劉強東) was arrested on allegations of sexual misconduct in the United States over the weekend, but was released the following day without bail and without being charged.

However, the case has not yet been closed according to the Sheriff’s Office of Hennepin County in Minnesota where the allegations and arrest were made.

Liu, who is a billionaire, and the CEO of Alibaba’s primary rival within China, was arrested on Friday, Aug. 31 after allegations were made that he had engaged in sexual misconduct. He was arrested at 11:32 p.m. on Friday evening, and was released at 4:05 p.m. the following afternoon Sept. 1 (U.S time).

Following the incident Inc. released a statement claiming it was a false accusation, reported by the Wall Street Journal:

“During a business trip to the United States, Mr. Liu was questioned by police in Minnesota in relation to an unsubstantiated accusation. 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.”

However, according to reports, a public information officer for the Minneapolis Police Department, John Elder, has stated that the case has not been closed, and is still an “active investigation” awaiting a “formal complaint” before further actions are taken.

By Monday afternoon, the story had caught the attention of the Chinese intranet, and the mugshot of Liu was the number one trending item on Sina Weibo.

The Wall Street Journal report suggests that Liu is enrolled in a Doctor of Business Administration Program at the University of Minnesota. Several netizens have suggested that the allegations of sexual misconduct were made by a female student enrolled at the university.

Chinese news media has reported Liu’s accuser may have been identified as a Chinese yoga instructor from Chongqing, who is presumably currently residing in Minnesota.

Liu is reportedly free to leave the country if he wishes, with Minnesota law enforcement officials "confident that (they) will be able to get in touch with him as the time becomes necessary.”