“I was not willing”, she wrote in Chinese on the messaging application around 2AM on August 31. “Tomorrow I will think of a way to escape”, she wrote, as she begged a friend not to call police.
“He will suppress it”, she wrote, referring to Liu. “You underestimate his power.”
Liu, the founder of Chinese ecommerce giant JD.com Inc, was arrested later that day on suspicion of rape, according to a police report. He was released without being charged and has denied any wrongdoing through a lawyer. He has since returned to China and has pledged to cooperate with Minneapolis police, although there is no reason for him to ever come back. The Chinese don't have an extradition treaty with the US.
Jill Brisbois, a lawyer for Liu, said he 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”, Brisbois wrote in an email response to detailed questions from Reuters.
The police department has turned over the findings of its initial investigation into the matter to local prosecutors for a decision on whether to bring charges against Liu. There is no deadline for making that decision, according to the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office.
The case has drawn intense scrutiny globally and in China, where the tycoon, also known as Liu Qiangdong, is celebrated for his rags-to-riches story. Liu, 45, married to Zhang Zetian, is described by Chinese media as 24 years old, who has become a celebrity in China and works to promote JD.com.
Liu was in Minneapolis briefly to attend a business doctoral programme run jointly by the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management and China’s elite Tsinghua University, according to the University of Minnesota. The doctoral program is “directed at high-level executives” from China.