Chinese billionaire Richard Liu, founder and chairman of e-commerce website JD.com, has settled a lawsuit by a former University of Minnesota student who claimed she was raped by the businessman in Minneapolis after a dinner in 2018.
“The incident between Ms. Jingyao Liu and Mr. Richard Liu in Minnesota in 2018 led to a misunderstanding that drew public attention and brought deep suffering to the parties and their families,” a joint statement said on Saturday. “Today, the parties have agreed to set aside their differences and settle their litigation in order to avoid further pain and suffering caused by the lawsuit.”
Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
A county attorney did not file charges earlier. “According to text messages reviewed by The Associated Press and Jingyao Liu’s interviews with police, she said that after dinner, Richard Liu pulled her into a limousine and beat her despite her protests,” the Associated Press reported this week. Press. “She said he raped her in her apartment. She texted a friend: “I begged him not to. But he didn’t listen.”
However, the AP continued, “After police went to her apartment, Jingyao Liu told an officer, ‘I was raped, but not this kind of rape,'” according to police. When asked to explain, she changed the subject and said that Richard Liu was famous and feared. She told the officer that the sex was “spontaneous” and that she did not want the police involved. According to police, officers released Richard Liu because “it was unclear whether a crime had actually occurred.”
Liu, also known by his Chinese name Liu Qiangdong, opened a retail store in China in 1998, but closed it six years later and moved his business online. Today, JD.com is one of the world’s most valuable e-commerce businesses with a market capitalization of $79 billion and listings in the US and Hong Kong. shareholders include Walmart. Liu is worth $10.9 billion on Forbes’ Realtime Billionaires List today.
Beijing-based Liu stepped down as chief executive of JD.com in April. His departure is one of a series of high-profile departures of billionaire CEOs at China’s tech companies in recent years amid shifts in government policy toward the industry and calls for improved wealth distribution. Others to step down include Pinduoduo’s Colin Huang, ByteDance’s Zhang Yiming and Kuaishou’s Su Hua. ByteDance owns the widely popular app TikTok.
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