According to AFP’s interviews with Cambodian police, Frenchman Patrick Henri Devillers, who is believed to have close ties to Bo Xilai and his wife Gu Kailai, has returned to China to help the investigation into the political scandal involving the couple. Bo, former Party Secretary of Chongqing, is being investigated for several disciplinary problems, while Gu has been accused of involvement in the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood:
Architect Patrick Devillers, arrested in Phnom Penh last month at Beijing’s request, was freed on Monday and he boarded a flight for Shanghai the following day “by his own will,” deputy national police chief Sok Phal said.
“He said he is going there to be a witness,” the official said, adding that China had asked for his release. “The French embassy supported this 100 percent.”
China had requested Devillers’ extradition and his arrest on June 13 for unspecified offenses, sparking a diplomatic tussle between Beijing and Paris, which warned Cambodia not to send the architect anywhere without a clear legal basis.
Financial Times reporters Hugh Carnegy and Gwen Robinson have additional details about the extradition:
However, some government officials privately told western business sources in Phnom Penh that there was a lot of negotiation between the French government and the Chinese to persuade Mr Devillers to go. They suggested that certain guarantees had been negotiated, including for Mr Devillers’ safety.
The French ministry said: “In the framework of this consular protection, we have made sure that Mr Devillers’ rights would be respected. In particular, we have ensured that he has been able to choose his own lawyer and to receive from his lawyer the appropriate advice regarding his situation.
See also: Frenchman with Ties to Bo Arrested in Cambodia via China Digital Times and Bo Family Bought Luxury Flats in London via the Financial Times. Read more about the role of both Bo Xilai and Gu Kailai in the ongoing scandal.