Chinese billionaire Liu Qiandong was arrested and placed in the custody of a police station in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Friday night on suspicion of sexual misconduct.
Also known as Richard Liu, the 44-year-old founder and CEO of e-commerce giant JD.com, who has an estimated net worth of around $7.33 billion, was reportedly released the following afternoon and has now returned to China, the Wall Street Journal reports.
As an enrolled student at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management in its Doctor of Business Administration China program, Liu was reportedly in town from August 26 to September 1 to attend the residency component of the program.
While jail records did not provide details of the alleged incident, rumors circulating online suggest that the sexual misconduct allegations against Liu were made by a female Chinese student at the university.
Liu’s case became a widely discussed topic on Chinese social media, with many netizens sharing his mugshot online and speculating how the issue would affect his marriage to 24-year-old social media celebrity Zhang Zetian.
Netizens also shared the alleged victim’s name and photos on Weibo with many making unfavorable comparisons of the woman’s appearance to that of Zetian.
Zetian, who gained internet stardom via a viral photo of her holding a cup of milk tea, was married to the tycoon in 2015. The couple have a daughter together.
In a statement released by JD.com over the weekend, the company stated that the authorities have determined that there was “no substance” to the accusations made against Liu.
“We will take the necessary legal action against false reporting or rumors,” the company added.
The Minneapolis police department, however, has disputed the claim, saying that an investigation is ongoing and Liu was merely allowed to go free without bail or travel restrictions.
JD.com, which is China’s second-largest e-commerce company after Alibaba, saw its shares plunge in U.S. trading 6.4% to $29.29 after the Labor Day public holiday.
Featured Image via Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office/AP