WeChat messages of accuser in sexual harassment case against Chinese billionaire released

Chinese billionaire Liu Qiangdong Photo: Biying

New details have emerged in the sexual harassment case against Chinese billionaire Liu Qiangdong case after Reuters released details and Liu's accuser's WeChat messages to her friends.

The 21-year-old University of Minnesota student wrote in Chinese on the messaging platform at around 2 am on August 31, saying Liu had forced her to have sex with him.

"I was not willing. Tomorrow I will think of a way to escape," she wrote, as she begged her friend not to call the police.

"He will suppress it," the woman wrote, referring to Liu. "You underestimate his power."

One of her lawyers, Wil Florin, verified that the WeChat messages came from her.

Liu's lawyer Jill Brisebois responded to the Reuters report by saying Liu was "arrested over an allegation we believe is false."

"Richard maintains his innocence and has cooperated fully with the investigation. These allegations are inconsistent with evidence that we hope will be disclosed to the public once the case is closed," she said.

"It is unfair for Reuters to publish a one-sided story right now when the case is still open and prosecutors are still considering the case," Brisebois added.

Liu, who goes by Richard Liu in the English-speaking world, is the founder and CEO of JD.com, China's second-largest online shopping site after Alibaba.

He was arrested on suspicion of rape at the University of Minnesota where he was enrolled to complete the American residency of a US-China business administration doctorate program on August 31, and released without any charges and without requirement of bail next day, according to a local police report.

Sources said the incident happened on August 30, after a dinner party Liu organized for about two dozen people, including around 20 men, at Origami Uptown, a Japanese restaurant in Minneapolis.

The woman told her friend in WeChat messages that she felt pressured to drink that evening.

"It was a trap," she wrote, later adding "I was really drunk."

The dinner party ended at around 9:30 pm.

According to a person with knowledge of the incident, the woman was then pulled by Liu into his rented car.

In a WeChat message to her friend sent hours later, she said Liu "started to touch me in the car."

"Then I begged him not to… but he did not listen," she wrote.

She asked her friend why the billionaire would be interested in "an ordinary girl" like her.

"If it was just me, I could commit suicide immediately," she wrote. "But I'm afraid that my parents will suffer."

By Friday morning, she wrote to her friend that she had told several people about what had happened, including the police, a few friends and at least one teacher.

She wrote that she would keep her bed sheets. "Evidence cannot be thrown away," she wrote.

JD.com had previously said that Liu was falsely accused, and the police did not find evidence of wrongdoing after an investigation.

He has returned to work in China in early September and continues to lead JD.com, said the company.

Liu's case has been turned over to Minneapolis prosecutors for further investigation.

Shares of JD.com fell 7.5 percent on Monday in New York trading following the Reuters story.


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