MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Chinese billionaire and JD.com founder Richard Liu accused a wealthy Chinese executive of a Minneapolis apartment in 2018 in a lawsuit filed by a former University of Minnesota student. After dinner and drinking, he claimed to have raped her and agreed to reconcile. , lawyers for both sides announced late Saturday.
The settlement amount was not disclosed.
Richard Liu, who resigned as CEO of Beijing-based e-commerce firm JD.com earlier this year amid heightened government scrutiny of China’s technology industry, denied raping a woman, Jingyao Liu, and prosecutors has not filed criminal charges. A joint statement from both sides’ attorneys called the encounter a “misunderstanding.”
“The 2018 incident of Liu Jinyao and Richard Liu in Minnesota was misleading, attracted public attention, and caused serious distress to the parties and their families,” the joint statement said. “Today, both parties have agreed to set aside their differences and settle their legal disputes in order to avoid further pain and suffering caused by the lawsuit.
The settlement was announced just two days before the civil trial begins Monday in court in Minneapolis. On Friday, a jury of seven men and her five women was selected to try the case.
Richard Liu is a prominent figure in China, part of a generation of entrepreneurs who created the country’s Internet, e-commerce, mobile phone and other technology industries since the late 1990s. Forbes estimated his fortune at $10.9 billion on Saturday.
Jingyao Liu claims the attack occurred in 2018. Richard Liu was in Minneapolis for a one-week stay at the University of Minnesota’s PhD in Business Administration China program.
A Chinese citizen, Jingyao Liu was enrolled at the university on a student visa and volunteered in the program at the time. The Associated Press typically does not name those who claim sexual assault, but Jingyao Liu has agreed to publicly identify them.
At the time, Jingyao Liu was 21 and Richard Liu was in his mid-40s, according to the complaint. they are not related.
Richard Liu, also known as Liu Qiangdong, was arrested on rape charges in August 2018, but prosecutors declined to press charges, saying there were “grave evidence problems” in the case.
Jingyao Liu sued Richard Liu and JD.com in 2019, alleging sexual assault and assault and wrongful imprisonment.
The incident received widespread attention at a time when the #MeToo movement was gaining momentum in China. Supporters and opponents of Richard Liu carried out aggressive publicity campaigns on Chinese social media. Censorship has closed several accounts supporting Jinyao Liu for “violating regulations”.
In the lawsuit, Jingyao Liu said she had to withdraw from classes in the fall of 2018 and undergo counseling and treatment. Her attorney said she had a stress disorder after the trauma, though she had since graduated.She sought compensatory and punitive damages from Richard Liu.
Her lawsuit said that if plaintiffs seek more, they are seeking more than $50,000, the standard amount that must be listed in Minnesota. She was expected to ask the jury to give out more prizes.
According to the lawsuit, on the night of the alleged attack, Richard Liu and other executives went to a Japanese restaurant in Minneapolis, where one of the men invited Jinyao Liu at Richard Liu’s request.
When a powerful man toasted her, she felt forced to drink, and Richard Liu said she would dishonor him if she didn’t participate, her lawsuit alleges.
After dinner, Richard Liu pulled her into a limousine and groped her despite her protests, according to text messages confirmed by the Associated Press and an interview with Jingyao Liu’s police. said he raped her in his apartment. At one point, she texted her friend.
Her friend called the police, who headed to her apartment. According to police, Jingyao Liu told one of her officers, “I was raped, but it wasn’t that kind of rape.” When asked for her explanation, she changed her subject and said that Richard Liu is famous and intimidating. She told officers that the sex was “spontaneous” and did not want police involved.
Police said they had released Richard Liu because “it was unclear whether the crime had actually been committed.” In a subsequent interview with investigators, Richard Liu said the sex was consensual and that the woman “enjoyed the whole process very much.”
According to police, Jingyao Liu told the sergeant that he wanted to speak to Richard Liu’s lawyer and threatened to appear in the media if he did not. Richard Liu’s former lawyer recorded the phone call, telling Jinyao Liu that he did not want the case to be published in the newspapers and that he “needs payment and just apologizes.”
The phone recording was expected to be played as evidence at trial. Surveillance videos from the restaurant, the exterior of the restaurant, and the halls of the women’s apartment complex were also scheduled to be played for the jury.