Richard Liu is the Chinese billionaire who founded JD.com, or Jingdong Mail, the second largest e-commerce business in China. (Ali Baba is the largest.)
Liu, who is also known as Liu Qiangdong, has been accused of raping a 21 year old woman in Minneapolis in August. Liu has not been formally charged with any crime, and the Hennepin County Attorney says they don’t know when they might decide to charge him. Liu has said that he is totally innocent and has gone back to China.
His accuser’s name has not been released.
Here’s what you need to know about Richard Liu:
1. He Was Arrested on Suspicion of Rape but Released 17 Hours Later
On the night of August 31, Minneapolis police arrested and booked Richard Liu on suspicion of rape. He was booked into jail at about 11:30PM. Liu, a Chinese national, was in Minneapolis for a business doctoral program; the woman he is accused of raping is a student at the University of Michigan.
Just 17 hours after Liu’s arrest, he was released from jail. He was apparently not given any travel restrictions, and he has since returned to China. Prosecutors said they were confident that Chinese authorities would extradite him if his case came to a trial.But prosecutors still have not decided whether to press felony charges against the 45 year old Liu. Liu has insisted all along that he is an innocent man.
2. Liu Threw a Big Boozy Dinner Party on August 30, the Night of the Alleged Rape
Liu was in Minneapolis for a business doctoral program run jointly by the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management and China’s Tsinghua University. On August 30, he invited about two dozen people to dinner at a restaurant, Uptown Origami. The 21 year old alleged rape victim was one of the guests.
She later told a friend that she had felt under pressure to drink. “It was a trap,” she wrote in a message to the friend. “I was really drunk.” She left the party with Liu at about 9:30 and wound up alone with him in a car. There, she said, he started to touch her. She wrote to a friend in a message later, “I begged him not to … but he did not listen.”
They went back to the woman’s house. According to a police report, the woman said later that the alleged rape took place in her home, at about 1AM. She alerted a friend, who called the police. The following afternoon, she went to a doctor for an examination, and that evening, she formally accused Liu of rape.
3. Liu Is Celebrated in China for His Rags-to -Riches Success Story
Liu prides himself on running a “clean” company, avoiding counterfeit goods and corruption. He founded JD.com in 1998, using his own savings to lease a storefront in Beijing.
He likes to talk about his “rags to riches” success story and often says that he founded his company so that he would be able to afford to help his grandmother buy the medicine she needed.
JD.com’s stock was reportedly down 15 points after news broke about the rape allegations against Liu.
4. His Wife’s Nickname is Sister Milk Tea & They Have a Daughter Together
Liu’s wife, Nancy Zhang Zetian, is an internet celebrity. The 24 year old has been known as Sister Milk Tea ever since a photograph of her holding a cup of milk tea went viral, back in 2009. Zetian, now 24 years old, was just a high school student when the photo of her exploded all over the internet. She was invited to audition for a movie but turned down the offer to accept early admission to Tsinghua University.
She met Liu while she was studying abroad in the US. In 2005, the couple got married. Zetian was pregnant at the time, and the couple now has a daughter. Liu is 19 years older than Zetian.
5. Liu’s Net Worth Is Estimated at 7.5 Billion Dollars
The rape allegations against Richard Liu have hurt his bottom line. Ever since the allegations went public, Liu has lost at least 466 million dollars, according to Forbes. (Forbes calculated his losses in early September; it’s not clear what his losses have been since then.)
Still, Liu’s net worth — even taking into account the losses — is estimated at 7.5 billion dollars.
Liu’s e-commerce business, JD.com, has a market capitalization of 43 billion dollars. He and his wife are active philanthropists who donated 80 million dollars to charity last year.