Police let Chinese billionaire Richard Liu walk free despite claims from student that he raped her
Richard Liu was arrested on allegations of having raped a student of the University of Minnesota but was later released and allowed to go back to China.
A 21-year-old student has claimed that she was raped by Chinese billionaire Richard Liu this past August after a night of heavy drinking despite her repeated protests and pleadings. Liu, who is the founder of Beijing-based e-commerce site JD.com, was initially arrested in Minneapolis but was later released and allowed to return to his native China without having any charges filed against him.
The Daily Mail reported that the 45-year-old billionaire was in Minneapolis for a weeklong residency with the Carlson School of Management's doctor of business administration China program that he had been attending when the alleged assault unfolded.
According to her Florida-based attorney Wil Florin, the woman, who is said to be from China and a student at the University of Minnesota, attended dinner with Liu on August 30 and felt coerced to drink because liquor was being served. Then, Liu proceeded to force himself upon her.
Text messages sent from the victim to a friend tells the story of how Liu dragged her into a vehicle and made advances on her despite her protests, with two of the texts she sent read, "I begged him to stop but he didn't listen," and "I told him 'no' several times."
In her conversations with detectives, she told them how the 45-year-old followed her inside the apartment and began pulling off her clothes. She said she managed to escape and began redressing herself but that he then threw her on the 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 the authorities. "'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," adding, "He is going to exercise his power. You underestimate him."
She had also texted other friends to tell them about the rape. "I didn’t do it willingly. I want[ed] to escape," one message in Mandarin read. "How could I know that Qiangdong Liu would come to mess with me. I’m just a normal girl. I’m not eyeing anyone’s deep pocket. I repeatedly begged him not to touch me," she had also written. She also used social media messaging app WeChat to speak to friends and contemplate whether to press charges.
The 21-year-old had also sent a message about the sexual assault to a male friend who had accompanied her that night. He would be the one who dropped her off at her apartment complex and then called 911 to report the incident. The victim then gave a statement and Liu was arrested.
Prosecutors at the Hennepin County Attorney's Office are currently reviewing the case and considering charges of sexual assault against Liu, though it is unclear when or if they will file any. The 45-year-old's attorney, Jill Brisbois, maintains that he is innocent and said she would not discuss the case with the media because it would interfere with the judicial process.
She released a statement that asserted her stance that her client is not guilty. "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," it read. "We believe his innocence will be apparent once a determination has been made and all evidence is disclosed to the public."