Saturday 20 December 2014

Bo's wife returns to haunt him in China corruption trial

Malcolm Moore Jinan

Published 24/08/2013 | 05:00

Gu Kailai

Gu Kailai, wife of one of China's former top leaders, who had not be seen for almost a year, has emerged to deliver a series of blows against her husband Bo Xilai during his corruption trial.

While Mr Bo, until two years ago one of the most powerful men in China, had bullishly dismantled many of the accusations against him on the opening day of his trial on Thursday, his wife returned, via video screen and written statements, to haunt him.

A year after Ms Gu (above) was sentenced for the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood, an incident which sparked the downfall of her husband, her testimony could prove key to the prosecution's case that Mr Bo (64) was aware of the millions of euro being funnelled to his family by the billionaire entrepreneur Xu Ming.

"Did you tell Bo Xilai about the money or not?" she was asked. "Yes," she replied.

The fallen Chinese politician, who has claimed he was oblivious to the vast sums spent all around him by his family, tried to disqualify Ms Gu's testimony. "How credible can she be? Gu Kailai has changed, she is crazy, she always tells lies. She made her confessions when she was mentally ill and under severe pressure from investigators," he said.

The court was treated to statement after statement confirming that Mr Bo was a full participant in his family's princely lifestyle.

One handwritten statement from Ms Gu (57) seemed to prove that Mr Bo was aware that Mr Xu paid for his 25-year-old son Guagua to visit Africa in August 2011, flying by private jet.

WORRYING

"Bo Xilai asked if it was safe for Guagua to go and I said Xu Ming had made all the arrangements, so he stopped worrying," said Ms Gu.

Mr Xu advanced more than €489,000 to the family over eight years for flights and hotels.

For the first time, the court also heard the chain of events leading up to the death of Mr Heywood, and the motive for his killing.

Ms Gu, who had bought a €2.3m house in the hills overlooking Cannes in 2000, had transferred her half share of ownership to Mr Heywood in 2007. At the time, she wanted to make sure the property, again paid for by Mr Xu, could not be linked to her husband.

However, in 2011, when she grew frustrated with the low rental income of the house and wanted to take it back, the British middleman demanded €1.6m.

Mr Heywood then began, according to Ms Gu, to threaten her son. This, she said, prompted her to take decisive action to kill Mr Heywood.

The trial continues today. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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