Chinese billionaire Richard Liu settles U.S. rape allegation, 2 days before civil trial | CBC News

Chinese language billionaire and founder Richard Liu agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by a former College of Minnesota pupil who alleged he sexually assaulted her in her Minneapolis condo after an evening of dinner and drinks with rich Chinese language executives in 2018, legal professionals for each side introduced late Saturday.

A settlement quantity was not disclosed.

Richard Liu, who stepped down because the CEO of Beijing-based e-commerce firm this yr amid elevated authorities scrutiny of China’s expertise trade, has denied raping the lady, Jingyao Liu, and prosecutors by no means filed legal prices. A joint assertion from legal professionals for each side known as the encounter “a misunderstanding.”

“The incident between Ms. Jingyao Liu and Mr. Richard Liu in Minnesota in 2018 resulted in a misunderstanding that has consumed substantial public consideration and introduced profound struggling to the events and their households,” the joint assertion stated. “At the moment, the events agreed to put aside their variations, and settle their authorized dispute so as to keep away from additional ache and struggling attributable to the lawsuit.”

The settlement was introduced simply two days earlier than the civil trial was set to start on Monday in a Minneapolis courtroom. On Friday, a jury of seven males and 5 girls was picked to listen to the case.

Richard Liu is a star in China, a part of a era of entrepreneurs who created the nation’s web, e-commerce, cell phone and different expertise industries for the reason that late Nineteen Nineties. Forbes estimated his wealth at $10.9 billion US on Saturday.

Pupil was 21 at time of alleged assault

Jingyao Liu alleges the assault occurred in 2018, whereas Richard Liu was in Minneapolis for a weeklong residency within the College of Minnesota’s physician of enterprise administration China program, geared towards high-level executives in China.

The girl, a Chinese language citizen, was on the college on a pupil visa and was a volunteer in this system on the time. The Related Press doesn’t usually identify folks alleging sexual assault, however Jingyao Liu has agreed to be recognized publicly.

She was 21 and Richard Liu was in his mid-40s on the time, the lawsuit stated. They aren’t associated.

Richard Liu, also referred to as Liu Qiangdong, was arrested on suspicion of felony rape in August 2018, however prosecutors stated the case had “profound evidentiary issues” and declined to file legal prices.

Jingyao Liu sued Richard Liu and in 2019, alleging sexual assault and battery, together with false imprisonment.

Case extensively publicized in China

The case drew widespread consideration at a time when the #MeToo motion was gaining traction in China. Richard Liu’s supporters and opponents waged aggressive public relations campaigns on Chinese language social media; censors shut down some accounts that supported Jingyao Liu for “violating rules.”

Jingyao Liu stated in her lawsuit that she needed to withdraw from courses in fall 2018 and search counselling and remedy. Her lawyer stated she has since graduated however has post-traumatic stress dysfunction. She sought compensatory in addition to punitive damages from Richard Liu.

Her lawsuit stated she was looking for greater than $50,000, an ordinary determine that should be listed in Minnesota if a plaintiff intends to hunt any bigger quantity. She was anticipated to ask a jury to award way more.

On the evening of the alleged assault, in response to the lawsuit, Richard Liu and different executives went to a Japanese restaurant in Minneapolis, and one of many males invited Jingyao Liu at Richard Liu’s request.

Coerced to have drinks, swimsuit claimed

She felt coerced to drink because the highly effective males toasted her, and Richard Liu stated she would dishonour him if she didn’t take part, her lawsuit claimed.

In line with textual content messages reviewed by The Related Press and Jingyao Liu’s interviews with police, she stated that after the dinner, Richard Liu pulled her right into a limousine and groped her regardless of her protests. She stated he raped her at her condo. At one level, she texted a good friend: “I begged him do not. However he did not hear.”

Her good friend notified police, who went to her condo. Jingyao Liu informed one officer, “I used to be raped however not that type of rape,” in response to police. When requested to elucidate, she modified the topic and stated Richard Liu was well-known and he or she was afraid. She informed the officer that the intercourse was “spontaneous” and he or she didn’t need police to get entangled.

Police stated they launched Richard Liu as a result of “it was unclear if against the law had really taken place.” In a later interview with an investigator, Richard Liu stated the intercourse was consensual and the lady “loved the entire course of very a lot.”

Jingyao Liu informed a police sergeant that she wished to speak with Richard Liu’s lawyer and threatened to go to the media if she didn’t, in response to police. Richard Liu’s former lawyer recorded the telephone name, wherein Jingyao Liu stated she did not need the case to be within the newspaper and “I simply want cost cash and apologize and that is all.”

A recording of the telephone name was anticipated to be performed as proof at trial. Surveillance movies from the restaurant, the restaurant’s exterior and the halls of the lady’s condo advanced have been additionally anticipated to be performed for jurors.

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