No sex assault charges for Chinese tech billionaire, US prosecutor says

Wang Yanlin
Chinese tech billionaire and founder Richard Liu will not face criminal charges over a rape accusation.
Wang Yanlin

Chinese tech billionaire and founder Richard Liu will not face criminal charges over a rape accusation, a prosecutor in the US state of Minnesota announced on Friday, AFP reported

The office of the Hennepin County Attorney announced that an investigation of the allegations against Liu, who is known as Liu Qiangdong in China, found the case had "profound evidentiary problems," said AFP.

"As we reviewed surveillance video, text messages, police body camera video and witness statements, it became clear that we could not meet our burden of proof and, therefore, we could not bring charges," County Attorney Mike Freeman said in a statement, according to AFP.

Freeman said the case was typical of many other sexual assault investigations in that Liu maintained the sex was consensual, the report said.

Liu — the 45-year-old billionaire founder of Chinese e-commerce juggernaut — was arrested in Minneapolis on August 31 while he was in the US as part of a PhD program in business administration offered by the University of Minnesota, according to the report.

He was accused of rape by a 21-year-old female student who had dinner with him and a group of others prior to the alleged incident, AFP reported.

Liu said he felt “sorry” for the trouble caused by the case in a statement posted on his microblog, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, at 5:56am on Saturday, the first time he publicly responded after the case was exposed.

Liu said the absence of his explanation was because he could not “disturb” the legal procedure “despite some people had released misleading information.”

“The result today proves that from the start to the end I did not break any laws,” Liu said in the statement. At the same time, he apologized to his family members, especially his wife.

Liu also appreciated the efforts of his colleagues at, who have been “working” under pressure.

“What I can do now is to work harder with them, and let our company grow stronger and thus let them have a better life to return their kindness,” Liu said.

Among the evidence investigators reviewed was body camera video from police officers who initially talked with Liu and the alleged victim, according to the prosecutor's office, reported AFP.

The cameras captured portions of conversations in Mandarin between Liu and the woman, the prosecutor said, according to AFP.

"As is the case in many sexual assault incidents, it was a complicated situation," Freeman said, said AFP.

"Because we do not want to re-victimize the young woman, we will not be going into detail," AFP reported.

Forbes estimates Liu's worth at US$5.5 billion, a fortune derived from his 15 percent stake in, said AFP.

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