Airbnb reportedly paid an Australian tourist $7 million (£5 million) after she was allegedly raped at knifepoint at a rented apartment in New York City on New Year’s Eve in 2015.

The alleged culprit, Junior Lee, 24, who denies charges of predatory sexual assault, reportedly made copies of the keys and hid them in the bathroom before the attack.

Airbnb’s policy on keys has remained unchanged since the attack with landlords encouraged – via a discount – but not compelled to change locks between rentals or use coded keypads.

According to Bloomberg News, the woman signed an agreement not to talk about the settlement or hold the company or the host liable.

However, Airbnb denied that it had sought to prevent the woman from speaking out.

 "In sexual assault cases, in the settlements we’ve reached, survivors can speak freely about their experiences. This includes the NYC case,” a spokesman said.

“We proactively reached out to the New York Police Department after the attack to offer our assistance for their investigation, and we helped get her into a hotel.

“The priority for our company and our executives was supporting the survivor and doing right by someone who had endured trauma.”

Airbnb also offered to pay for counselling and flew the survivor’s mother to New York from Australia.

The company does carry out online background checks – including vetting criminal records – of potential landlords.

It has also called for a nationwide registration system of potential landlords, which would require them to be approved by a public body before advertising on accommodation booking sites.

Airbnb, which was founded in 2008 by students Chesky and Joe Gebbia and engineer Nate Blecharczyk, has become one of the world’s biggest travel accommodation companies.

With more than 5.6 million listings it has more rooms than the top seven hotel companies combined.

Its share price more than doubled when the company was launched on Wall Street, putting the company’s value at more than $100 billion (£70 bn).