UMN associate dean accused of helping Chinese billionaire who allegedly sexually assaulted student

  • Haitao “Tony” Cui, an associate dean at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, is accused of helping JD.com founder Richard Liu downplay a sexual assault allegation.
  • The alleged victim is a then- 21-year-old undergraduate student, who claims to have been raped by Liu after he invited her to a lavish dinner party.
  • Cui’s attorney disputed the allegation, saying their client has fully cooperated with the investigation and supported both the plaintiff and the defendant in line with university policy.
  • Liu is expected to begin trial in September or early October.

An associate dean at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management allegedly helped JD.com founder Richard Liu downplay the sexually assault of an undergraduate student nearly four years ago.

The case, which has sent shockwaves across China, dates back to the night of Aug. 30, 2018, when the unidentified student was allegedly raped by Liu after he invited her to a lavish dinner party.

Liu reportedly organized the banquet in honor of student volunteers who helped him and his classmates during a week-long summer residency in the university’s Global Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) program. 

The student allegedly asked to be driven home after the dinner, but she was instead taken by Liu to an unknown Minneapolis mansion.

Richard Liu. Image via Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office

“He dragged me into the vehicle,” the student later texted a friend. “He started to make physical advances inside the vehicle. I begged him to stop but he didn’t listen.”

A confrontation ensued, and the student was eventually taken to her apartment complex. But Liu allegedly continued to follow her.

After another confrontation, the alleged assault took place.

“He just threw me onto the bed. He was on me. He was heavy. I tried to push him away. But he was on top of me … and then he ra‌p‌e‌d me,” the student told the police.

The 57-credit Global DBA program is reportedly offered in partnership with Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management in China. The Carlson School says it is tailored for “top-level executives working full-time in China and the surrounding region,” preparing them to “strategically envision multinational corporations, critically review business challenges and technology transformation, and innovatively pursue corporate entrepreneurship in a complex global market.”

Last month, the student’s attorneys reportedly accused Haitao “Tony” Cui of actively working to undermine her claims following the alleged assault. Cui is the deputy associate dean of the Global DBA program.

The allegation came in a June 16 memorandum, which claimed that Cui acted in concert with Liu’s legal team, according to student newspaper The Minnesota Daily. Cui allegedly served as a liaison between Liu and his lawyers and secretly recorded phone conversations that involved the student.

Cui’s attorney has disputed the memorandum’s claims, stressing that their client has fully cooperated in the investigation.

“Once he was alerted to the situation, Dr. Cui joined others at the University who did their exhausted best to work tirelessly that night and the next day to support the plaintiff and the defendant as they followed University policies while trying to safeguard the respective rights of both parties,” his attorney told the Daily.

Liu’s trial is expected to begin in September or early October. The alleged victim is seeking $50,000 and punitive damages.

 

Featured Image via Gabonobo (left; CC BY-SA 4.0) and Minneapolis Police Department (right)

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