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 attorneys for both sides on Saturday, two days before the civil trial is scheduled to begin on Monday, has not been disclosed, according to the Associated press.
The 49-year-old founder and CEO of e-commerce giant JD.com, also known as Richard Liu, has been accused of raping the former University of Minnesota student after a night out with a group of executives Chinese.
State prosecutors said in December 2018 that no charges would be brought against Liu, who denied raping Jingyao. He returned to China the day after he was arrested by police on suspicion of rape, NextShark reported in 2019.
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A joint statement from the two sides described the meeting as “a misunderstanding”.
“The incident between Ms. Jingyao Liu and Mr. Richard Liu in Minnesota in 2018 resulted in a misunderstanding that drew public attention and caused profound suffering to the parties and their families,” the statement said. “Today, the parties have agreed to set aside their differences and settle their legal dispute 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 especially want to thank my wife for her tolerance, support and companionship! Without her, I couldn’t have made it to this day,” Liu said.
The entrepreneur is also known as Jeff Bezos of China for being one of the first to develop internet, e-commerce, mobile phone and other technology industries in China. He has an estimated net worth of $10.9 billion.
Jingyao, who claimed Liu forced herself on her after a dinner date, sued Liu in 2019 at the height of the #MeToo movement. She told authorities at the time that she sat next to Liu at the dinner table where she was forced to drink excessively, but surveillance footage showed Jingyao sitting two seats away.
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The former student also mistakenly got into a black SUV when she left the restaurant, not realizing it was Liu’s car. She reportedly asked to be driven home after the vehicle pulled up outside a mansion.
Back at Jingyao’s apartment, surveillance footage captured her, a man who appeared to be Liu, and another woman entering the building together and using an elevator. Jingyao is seen opening the door to her apartment as the other woman leaves her alone with Liu. The Times has since reported that this viral video was heavily edited to discredit the rape allegations.
However, an investigation into the case by Minneapolis police found “deep evidentiary issues”.
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“We were fighting each other on the bed and eventually I escaped him and went back to the living room and put the bra back on,” said the student, who was 21 at the time. . “In the end, he just threw me on the bed. He was on top of me. He was heavy. I tried to push him away. But he was on top of me…and then he raped me.
She later texted her friends, saying, “Liu Qiangdong is in my bed. He took me by force last night and I couldn’t escape. I slept next to him [a Chinese idiom for being raped] I didn’t do it on purpose… I want to escape.
Liu was arrested about an hour later after a friend notified authorities.
Jingyao ended up withdrawing from fall 2018 classes and taking counseling after the incident. His trial demanded more than $50,000 and had to ask the jury for more.
Featured image via CNBC International TV