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Trial expected to start soon for former high-ranking Chinese official

July 24, 2013 at 1:01 PM

JINAN, China, July 24 (UPI) -- Bo Xilai, a former high-ranking member of the Chinese Politburo, is expected to go on trial soon on charges of corruption and abuse of power, officials say.

Officials with knowledge of the trial say no timeframe has been given, but it is expected in the "short term," the South China Morning Post reported Wednesday.

While charges against Bo have not been announced, former Beijing lawyer Li Zhuang said the disgraced party official has been accused of receiving bribes of more than $3.2 million and embezzling $814,000 more.

Bo, 64, has not been seen since he was arrested in March 2012.

His wife, Gu Kailai, received a suspended death sentence last August for poisoning British businessman Neil Heywood in November 2011.

A family associate said the trial could start by early August, The New York Times reported.

The associate said Bo would likely also be charged with abuse of power in Heywood's murder.

Bo would be the highest-ranking member of the Communist Party to face criminal charges since a former party secretary in Shanghai was convicted of corruption in 2008.

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