fell to a 22-month low this week as new details emerged in an investigation into rape allegations against the e-commerce giant’s founder and CEO, Richard Liu.D.com shares
Liu was arrested in the US earlier this month after a 21-year-old University of Minnesota student accused him of rape. Minneapolis authorities released him without charge shortly thereafter. Liu has since returned to China, denying the allegations through an attorney and promising to cooperate with prosecutors.
In previously unreported WeChat messages from the night of the alleged incident obtained by Reuters, the student told a friend that Liu had forced himself on her. “I was not willing,” she wrote. “Tomorrow I will think of a way to escape.” She urged her friend not to report Liu to the police. “He will suppress it,” she said. “You underestimate his power.”
With an estimated net worth of $6.3 billion, helming the Chinese e-commerce industry’s foremost competitor to Alibaba, Liu is among China’s wealthiest executives.
He was reportedly in Minnesota as part of a joint business doctoral program between the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management and Tsinghua University.
The Reuters report details a boozy dinner party at an upscale Japanese restaurant on the night in question, for which Liu footed the $2,200 bill. His accuser said she felt pressured into drinking, calling it “a trap.”
The alleged rape occurred later that night at her apartment. According to the WeChat transcripts obtained by Reuters, the student told her friend that Liu “started to touch me” in his hired car after the party, even as she “begged him not to.” Minneapolis authorities, notified of the alleged incident by her friend, showed up at the student’s apartment the next morning, but she declined to file charges with Liu present.
Later that afternoon she underwent a sexual assault forensic examination at a local hospital, according to a Reuters source. Liu was arrested that night in a University of Minnesota office and released the next day without charge.
Hennepin County prosecutors are currently reviewing the findings of the initial police investigation and weighing whether or not to charge Liu.
Both Liu’s attorney and a spokesperson for JD.com have maintained Liu’s innocence and insisted that the e-commerce tycoon will be vindicated as more details emerge.
[Images via the Wall Street Journal]