Chinese billionaire Liu Qiandong has settled a case with Liu Jingyao, a University of Minnesota graduate who accused him of raping her in Minneapolis in 2018.
The settlement, which was announced by lawyers for both sides on Saturday, two days before the civil trial was due to start on Monday, has not been disclosed, according to the newspaper. the Associated Press.
The 49-year-old founder and CEO of e-commerce giant JD.com, also known as Richard Liu, was accused of raping the former University of Minnesota student after a night out with a group of Chinese executives.
Prosecutors said in December 2018 that no charges would be brought against Liu, who has denied raping Jingyao. He returned to China the day after police arrested him on suspicion of rape. NextShark reported in 2019.
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A joint statement by both sides described the meeting as “a misunderstanding”.
“The 2018 incident between Ms. Jingyao Liu and Mr. Richard Liu in Minnesota resulted in a misunderstanding that has attracted much public attention and caused great distress to the parties and their families,” the statement said. “Today, the parties have agreed to set aside their differences and settle their legal dispute in order to avoid further pain and suffering caused by the lawsuit.”
Liu, who remained chairman of JD.com after stepping down as CEO in April, apologized to his wife in a separate statement, according to the New York Times.
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“I would especially like to thank my wife for her tolerance, support and companionship! I wouldn’t have made it to this day without her,” said Liu.
The entrepreneur is also known as the Jeff Bezos of China because he was one of the first to develop China’s internet, e-commerce, mobile phone and other technology sectors. He has an estimated net worth of $10.9 billion.
Jingyao, who claimed that Liu forced himself on her after dinner, sued Liu in 2019 at the height of the #MeToo movement. She told authorities at the time that she was sitting next to Liu at the dinner table where she was pressured to drink excessively, but surveillance footage showed Jingyao sitting two chairs away.
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The former college student also accidentally got into a black SUV as she left the restaurant, not realizing it was Liu’s car. She reportedly demanded to be taken home after the vehicle stopped outside a mansion.
Back at Jingyao’s apartment, surveillance footage caught her with a man allegedly appearing to be Liu and another woman entering the building together and using an elevator. Jingyao opens the door to her apartment while the other woman leaves her alone with Liu. The Times has since reported that this viral video has been heavily edited to discredit the rape allegations.
However, an investigation into the case by the Minneapolis Police Department found “profound evidence issues.”
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“We fought each other on the bed and eventually I escaped from him and went back to the living room and put the bra back on,” said the then 21-year-old student. “Finally he just threw me on 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 would later text her friends, claiming, “Liu Qiangdong is in my bed. He took me by force last night and I couldn’t escape. I was slept by him [a Chinese idiom for being raped] I didn’t do it voluntarily… I want to escape.”
Liu was arrested about an hour later after a friend alerted authorities.
Jingyao dropped out of classes in the fall of 2018 and went to counseling after the incident. Her lawsuit demanded more than $50,000 and she was expected to ask the jury for more.
Featured image via CNBC International TV
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