A University of Minnesota student accused Richard Liu, the billionaire founder of the Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com, of rape in a lawsuit filed in Minneapolis on Tuesday, four months after prosecutors decided not to pursue a criminal case.
Mr. Liu’s lawyer, Jill Brisbois, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit, which also names JD.com as a defendant. She has repeatedly stated that Mr. Liu, whose Chinese name is Liu Qiangdong, is innocent.
The lawsuit, filed in Minnesota State Court in Hennepin County, seeks more than $50,000 in damages. The student, Liu Jiangyao, is identified in the complaint as an undergraduate student who lives in Minneapolis.
In the lawsuit, she accused Mr. Liu of forcing himself on her in her apartment on Aug. 30 while he was taking courses at the university.
He was later arrested but released within hours and allowed to return to China. On Dec. 21, the county attorney’s office said it had not found enough evidence to charge him with sexual assault.
Ms. Liu said in the complaint that the experience had caused her to withdraw from all of her classes in the fall and seek professional counseling.
Chinese social media users were fixated on the case. Mr. Liu is a celebrity in Asia, a tycoon with a well-known personal tale of humble beginnings, hard work and enormous wealth. He is married to Zhang Zetian, a popular figure on social media known as Sister Milk Tea.
JD.com’s stock has struggled in the past year under pressure from concerns about Mr. Liu’s ability to lead the company and instability in the Chinese economy.
Since the county attorney’s decision not to press charges, Mr. Liu has returned to public visibility, most recently weighing in on a debate about overtime work in China.