Chinese e-commerce billionaire Richard Liu faces sexual assault allegations from Minnesota college student

A woman who is accusing one of China’s wealthiest men of raping her has said that she begged him repeatedly to stop.

A 21-year-old college student in Minnesota alleges that Richard Liu, founder of Beijing-based e-commerce site JD.com, got her drunk and assaulted her one summer night in her Minneapolis apartment.

Liu was arrested in August, was released without charges being filed, and subsequently went back to China. Minnesota prosecutors are looking at the case again.

The 21-year-old woman is from China and studies at the University of Minneapolis, where she crossed paths with Liu while he was on a week-long residency with the Carlson School of Management’s doctor of business administration China program.

Chinese billionaire accused of rape

Liu’s case originally made headlines over the summer, but a new report by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that reviewed police interviews and text messages describes the alleged attack in detail. The alleged victim’s attorney, Will Florin, said she got dinner on the night of Aug. 30 with a group that included Liu. She described being separated from her only friend at the event and feeling pressured to drink with Liu.

The woman told a friend via text that Liu dragged her into his car after the dinner and started making unwanted advances. He then followed her into her apartment, where he allegedly undressed and assaulted her over her pleas to stop. She told police that she managed to escape and dress herself before he threw her down on a bed and raped her.

“We were battling against each other on the bed and finally I escaped from him and went back to the living room and put the bra back on again,” she told police.

“Finally, he just threw me onto the bed. He was on me. He was heavy. I tried to push him away. But he was on top of me and then he raped me,” she said, adding, “He is going to exercise his power. You underestimate him.”

The woman group-texted some friends after the alleged assault and reached out to the male friend who accompanied her at the dinner, who drove to her apartment and dialed 911. She eventually talked to police and Liu was placed in custody.

“I begged him to stop but he didn’t listen,” she wrote to friends in Mandarin. “‘I didn’t do it willingly. I want to escape.”

Prosecutors reviewing case

He was arrested the day after the alleged attack, but then released while police investigated and he was allowed to return to China. The police handed over evidence to prosecutors at the end of an investigation in late September.

Prosecutors in Hennepin County are now deciding whether to charge Liu with assault. It’s not clear when and if a charge will be made.

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An attorney for Liu said he was denying the assault.

“Richard maintains his innocence, has cooperated fully with the investigation, and was quickly released by police without any restriction on his travel and without being required to post bail. We believe his innocence will be apparent once a determination has been made and all evidence is disclosed to the public,” spokesperson Jill Brisbois said.

Liu, whose Chinese name is Liu Qiangdong, is worth more than $7 billion. His company is the second biggest e-commerce corporation in China, after Alibaba.

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