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Chinese language billionaire Richard Liu settles U.S. rape allegation hours earlier than trial



Billionaire JD.com founder Richard Liu has reached a settlement with Liu Jingyao, the Minnesota pupil who accused him of rape in 2018, bringing to a detailed a civil go well with lower than 48 hours earlier than a trial was set to start. 

“The incident between Ms. Jingyao Liu and Mr. Richard Liu in Minnesota in 2018 resulted in a misunderstanding that has consumed substantial public consideration and introduced profound struggling to the events and their households,” the events mentioned in a joint assertion. “In the present day, the events agreed to put aside their variations, and settle their authorized dispute so as to keep away from additional ache and struggling attributable to the lawsuit.”

Particulars of the settlement weren’t launched. Liu Jingyao had been in search of a minimum of $50,000 in damages, plus further punitive damages within the lawsuit. Whereas in legal trials prosecutors are required to steer a jury the defendant is responsible past an affordable doubt, the usual is decrease in civil fits, the place the jury should solely be satisfied by a preponderance of proof of the defendant’s legal responsibility.

Richard Liu, whose Chinese language title is Liu Qiangdong, is certainly one of China’s strongest businessmen, and the corporate he based in 1998 has grown to be certainly one of its greatest e-commerce platforms. Information of the alleged assault wiped $10 billion off the worth of the corporate, however Liu stays among the many 150 richest individuals on this planet, based on the Bloomberg Billionaire Index, with a internet value of $12.2 billion.

The civil go well with drew worldwide consideration, partly as a result of China’s home authorized system makes it arduous for girls to hunt recourse for sexual misconduct by males. The nation’s courts give little weight to testimony usually, making it troublesome for girls whose instances rely on witness statements and credibility.

Liu, then a pupil on the College of Minnesota, filed a police report in 2018 saying that the tech govt had groped her in a automotive after dinner in a Minneapolis restaurant and later raped her. After prosecutors declined to press prices, saying they lacked adequate proof, Liu filed a civil go well with.

Richard Liu, who had been anticipated to testify within the trial, has persistently denied Liu Jingyao’s accusations and insisted that their encounter was consensual. 

The settlement was hotly debated on the Chinese language social media platform Weibo, the place a hashtag of the information was considered 86 million occasions as of early Sunday afternoon native time. Many feedback disparaged Jingyao Liu and implied she pursued authorized actions for cash, an unsubstantiated accusation that’s dogged Jingyao Liu since she first pursued authorized motion.

A few of her supporters have additionally been attacked on social media, mentioned Liang Xiaowen, an activist and lawyer primarily based in New York. “There have been college students who have been pressured by workers at their college to delete posts that categorical assist for Jingyao Liu,” she mentioned. “Many individuals have skilled intimidation by way of supporting Jingyao Liu. So this result’s necessary to them.”

Within the three months after his arrest, JD.com misplaced greater than $10 billion of market worth — virtually a 3rd of its capitalization on the time. In China, JD.com is a mix of e-commerce and supply, with similarities to Amazon.com Inc. and Federal Categorical Corp. It additionally has operations in Thailand and Indonesia.

The corporate paid a particular money dividend in Could of 63 cents per unusual share and $1.26 per American depository share for a payout of $2 billion, of which greater than $200 million went to Richard Liu.

On Sept. 16, Richard Liu relinquished 45% of his fairness pursuits in two JD.com associates to Qin Miao, the vice chairman of JD Group, to spice up the administration effectivity, based on filings with the Hong Kong inventory change. 

The switch adopted Richard Liu’s choice to step down as chief govt officer of JD.com in April. He was changed by the corporate’s president, Xu Lei. Richard Liu additionally resigned from the Chinese language Folks’s Political Consultative Convention, citing “private causes.”

— With help by Linda Lew

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