The Telegraph’s Tom Phillips reports that disgraced former Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai has denied involvement in or knowledge of the events surrounding the death of British businessman Neil Heywood, according to a source close to the investigation:
A well-placed source in Chongqing, who has spoken to senior government officials with knowledge of the investigation’s progress, said: “Bo is denying everything, [saying] that he knows nothing.”
Government sources in Chongqing say Wang Lijun is likely to be tried next month in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province. Mrs Gu and Mr Bo are also expected to be tried before the autumn congress.
But the source in Chongqing said the central government had yet to decide how to deal with Mr Bo, who still enjoys significant support within the Party.
“There is still fierce struggle going on up there [in Beijing],” they said.
“Bo’s political life is over but it [the government] has yet to decide to what extent he will be punished.” “There are still quite a lot of senior people who support him. I feel they have been less harsh on Bo, probably out of the need for party unity.”
Meanwhile, a Financial Times investigation into Bo’s finances shows that the family bought luxury London properties between May 2002 and May 2003, and that French architect Patrick Henri Devillers occupied one of the flats during various stretches between 2003 and 2010. Devillers was arrested earlier this month in Cambodia in cooperation with a request by the Chinese government, which is seeking his extradition in connection with the investigation into Bo’s wife’s role in Heywood’s death. The Telegraph’s Phillips has an update on the situation in a separate Wednesday report:
Speaking in Phnom Penh on Wednesday, Khieu Kanharith, Cambodia’s Information Minister, said: “Up to now, there has not been any charge against Patrick Devillers and, according to research I have conducted, this Patrick Devillers was importantly in charge of keeping money for the wife of Bo Xilai.”
Kanharith said Cambodia would not extradite Mr Devillers to China but suggested Beijing would send investigators to Phnom Penh to interrogate the French architect.
“We cannot extradite him to China because he is a French man and… China has not provided any information yet. But I think China can send their investigating judge to Cambodia for investigation.”
The plot continues to thicken for Gu Kailai, who reportedly confessed to the murder of Heywood last week. But while her story has been “irresistible” to the netizen masses and foreign media, China author Paul French writes that Gu Kailai is just the latest in a long line of Chinese “dragon ladies” that includes Madames Chiang Kai-shek and Mao.