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Oct. 2, 2022, 7:15 p.m. EDT

Billionaire founder of China’s JD.com settles Minnesota sexual-assault case

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Shen Lu, Rebecca Feng

MINNEAPOLIS — Richard Liu, the billionaire founder of Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com Inc., settled  a sexual-assault lawsuit filed against him  by a former student at the University of Minnesota, ending a legal battle seen as pivotal for China’s embattled #MeToo movement.

The agreement to settle came just before  a jury in Minneapolis was set to hear testimony  to determine whether Mr. Liu raped the student, Jingyao Liu, in 2018. Opening statements had been scheduled for Monday. Both Mr. Liu, who is in his late 40s, and Ms. Liu, now 25 years old, were expected to testify at the civil trial.

Ms. Liu’s allegations sparked widespread discussion in China over the past four years. While Minneapolis prosecutors in 2018  declined to criminally charge Mr. Liu , citing insufficient evidence, Ms. Liu’s civil suit had kept the matter in the spotlight.

Around midday on Sunday in China, JD.com /zigman2/quotes/205122565/composite JD +2.25% released what it described as a joint statement from the parties, saying that they had agreed to settle the lawsuit and “set aside their differences.”

“The incident between Ms. Jingyao Liu and Mr. Richard Liu in Minnesota in 2018 resulted in a misunderstanding that has consumed substantial public attention and brought profound suffering to the parties and their families,” the statement read. Terms of the settlement weren’t disclosed.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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