A Chinese tech billionaire has been accused of plying a student with drink and then forcing himself on her during a trip to the US
- The Minneapolis Star Tribune published a long account describing a student's rape allegation against Liu Qiangdong, the billionaire founder of Chinese tech firm JD.com.
- Liu was arrested in connection with the claim in August, and prosecutors are deciding whether to charge him.
- The article, which cites police interviews and text messages, offers details of the allegations made by the 21-year-old student accusing Liu of rape.
- It describes her claims of being plied with alcohol and manoeuvred into a situation where Liu went home with her in his private car.
- It describes her claim of a violent encounter inside her apartment, ending with non-consensual sex.
- Liu has denied these allegations, and his lawyer called the Star Tribune story "one-sided."
A new report has offered the first detailed account of an alleged rape by JD.com CEO Liu Qiangdong, claiming that the Chinese tech billionaire forced himself on a student after a night of heavy drinking in Minnesota.
Citing text messages, police interviews, and other documents, the Minneapolis Star Tribune offered a long account of the woman's allegations of the night during which she claimed to have been raped by Liu.
Liu is the founder and CEO of JD.com, a Chinese e-commerce giant which recently struck a deal with Google to help it enter the US market. He is one of China's richest men. He has consistently denied the allegation, and did so again on Monday via a statement to Business Insider from his attorney.
The Star Tribune reports that the woman was a student from China who says she volunteered to help with events related to a high-powered course held at the University of Minnesota for Chinese executives.
It describes the woman's allegations of being invited to an expensive restaurant, separated from her one friend at the event, being seated next to Liu, and encouraged to drink heavily.
Hennepin County Sheriff's Office via AP
An earlier report by the Reuters news agency said the woman later described the event as "a trap."
According to the Star Tribune's account, the woman asked to leave at the end of the meal, but was instead picked up Liu's private SUV, which eventually took both of them back to her apartment near campus.
"The woman unlocked her apartment door and Liu followed inside.
"Inside the apartment, she told police, he pulled off her sweater over her protests. She said that Liu told her she could be just like Wendi Deng, the Chinese-born ex-wife of Australian media executive Rupert Murdoch.
"'I told him "no" several times,' she told police. She also told police that he tried to pull off her skirt and bra, held her arms and tried to throw her onto her bed.
"'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 said in the interview. '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.'"
Liu was arrested the following day. He was allowed to leave the US and return to China while police investigated the incident. Liu has continued to run JD.com in the meantime.
Prosecutors in Hennepin County, Minnesota, were handed the results of a police investigation in late September. They are considering whether to charge Liu with any crimes.
Jill Brisbois, Liu's attorney in Minneapolis, told Business Insider that her client has done nothing wrong.
Her statement, which refers to her client by the more western name Richard Liu, said: "We are not at liberty to discuss this investigation nor share evidence with the media right now because we respect and do not want to interfere with the judicial process.
"It is unfair for Business Insider to publish a one-sided story when the prosecutors are still considering the case. 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."
In response to a renewed request for comment, JD.com repeated a statement it first issued on September 4, just after Liu was arrested.
It said: "We were informed that our CEO Richard Qiangdong Liu was taken into custody by Minneapolis police on August 31, 2018. He has been released without any charges, and without requirement for bail. Mr. Liu has returned to work in China."