Chinese billionaire Richard Liu settles U.S. rape allegation

AP file photo
Liu Qiangdong, also known as Richard Liu, CEO of, raises his arms to celebrate the IPO for his company at the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York in May 2014.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Chinese billionaire and founder Richard Liu agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by a former University of Minnesota student who alleged he raped her in her Minneapolis apartment after a night of dinner and drinks with wealthy Chinese executives in 2018, attorneys for both sides announced Saturday.

Richard Liu, who stepped down as the CEO of Beijing-based e-commerce company this year amid increased government scrutiny of China’s technology industry, has denied raping the woman, Jingyao Liu.

In a joint statement released Saturday night, attorneys for both sides said: “The incident between Ms. Jingyao Liu and Mr. Richard Liu in Minnesota in 2018 resulted in a misunderstanding that has consumed substantial public attention and brought profound suffering to the parties and their families. Today, the parties agreed to set aside their differences, and settle their legal dispute in order to avoid further pain and suffering caused by the lawsuit.”

A settlement amount was not disclosed. The settlement was announced just two days before a trial was set to begin in a Minneapolis courtroom.

Richard Liu was arrested on suspicion of felony rape in August 2018, but prosecutors said the case had “profound evidentiary problems” and declined to file criminal charges.

Jingyao Liu sued Richard Liu in 2019, saying he and the other businessmen coerced her to drink alcohol at a group dinner, and that he forced himself on her in his vehicle and later raped her in her apartment.