Minneapolis police has released a cache of files relating to the rape allegation made against Chinese billionaire Richard Liu while he was in the Twin Cities.
A University of Minnesota student accused Liu, the founder of the Beijing-based e-commerce site JD.com, of forcing himself upon her in a car, before raping her at her apartment after they'd dined as part of a larger group at Origami in Uptown in August 2018.
Liu, also known as Liu Qiangdong, was released without charges after county prosecutors said they would be unable to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law, while Liu has himself denied the claim, saying it was a false allegation.
The billionaire was in the Twin Cities as part of his study in the Carlson School of Management's Doctor of Business Administration Chinese-partnership program, with the alleged victim a Chinese citizen studying at the U on a student visa.
On Tuesday, Minneapolis PD released 911 transcripts, text messages sent from the victim after the alleged rape, surveillance footage and pictures showing the pair together on the night of the incident, and audio of Liu's interview with police.
"Quangdong did not understand what was going on, and did not think that he had done anything wrong," a report from one of the arresting officers states.
"Upon completion of the investigation, it was unclear if a crime had actually taken place, based on statements provided by [redacted] to other officers, as well as the overall environment at the scene," it added.
“The evidence released today again reaffirms our strong belief from the very beginning that Mr. Liu is innocent," a statement sent to BMTN from Jill Brisbois, an attorney for Richard Liu, said.
"The written police report, in addition to the surveillance video, fully dispels the misinformation and unsubstantiated speculation that has been widely circulated and irrefutably supports the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office decision not to file charges against our client. Mr. Liu remains grateful for the hard work of law enforcement to resolve this matter."
Alleged victim reveals fears
Text messages sent by the victim after the incident suggests she was reluctant to call the police because of the potential repercussions she feared she would face.
In a text with her boyfriend in China, she wrote: "My family can't put food on the table," "You can't protect me," and "I'm thinking strategically how to escape tomorrow."
"I was forced," she wrote. "He started to molest me in his vehicle. Then I begged him not to." She also wrote: "Yesterday I was held down by him. I was not able to set myself free."
In a text message to a friend, she wrote the following:
In one of the texts, the victim said she was "dead drunk" while in the car with Liu, though when interviewed by police over the phone alongside a staff member at the Carlson School of Management, the victim says she "got drugged."
She said he tried to pull off her clothes while in the car, noting she was "scared" and that she told him "I don't wanna do this."
Liu's driver told police that Liu "grabbed" the woman's arm before bringing her into the car, where he "kind of overpower her" [sic], and noted he was "all over this girl" in the back seat.
Liu's secretary, who was in the front seat, "saw me that I saw them and she grabbed my mirror and put it all the way up."
Video footage from inside the apartment building shows Liu and the alleged victim walking to an elevator, with the victim's hand linked through Liu's arm.
In the end, the friend with whom she was texting, who had also been at the dinner, called the police, with Liu taken into custody by arriving officers.
Even then, that same friend didn't want to give their real name to the dispatcher, and when asked if he knew who the alleged rapist was, said: "I know but uh, she don’t want me to tell you guys."
The victim was surprised when police turned up, having told her friend not to call the police. Officers arrived to find Liu wearing a t-shirt but naked from the waist down.
Liu tells police it was consensual
In an audio interview between police and Liu, the Chinese national said that the alleged victim was sitting on his left at the restaurant, and said she had poured wine for him.
About three hours later they were told the restaurant would be closed, and one of his classmates invited us to his house. It was there Liu says the alleged victim invited him to her apartment.
Video shows him turning up at the apartment with the victim and another woman Liu identified as his secretary, who stayed on the first floor while the pair went to the woman's apartment.
When they got into the apartment, Liu says the alleged victim apologized for the mess and made jokes about needing a humidifier in a state that has 10,000 lakes.
Liu says she suggested he take a shower, "so we both went to the bathroom, and she cleaned my body."
He then says he thinks she took a shower, then got into bed, and "we were kissing each other and touching each other and then made love."
"She did not say [she didn't want to have sex with me] she said she enjoyed [it] very much," he said.
He said she was "very very clear" and "obvious" that "she wanted to make love with me."
He said he woke up a few hours and she was still naked, but texting on her phone. Then they talked for about 20 minutes, at which point the police turned up.
While prosecutors decided against pressing charges against Liu, the victim in April filed a lawsuit against the tech executive.
A police sergeant wrote that in his interview with the woman, he asked if she wanted police to investigate Liu, to which responded: "No, I just want it to go away ... I want apology ... and money.”