French villa to play a role in case against Chinese ex-official

Aug. 6, 2013 at 11:16 AM
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BEIJING, Aug. 6 (UPI) -- Prosecutors said they will present a French villa as evidence in the impending bribery trial of the fallen Communist politician, Bo Xilai.

Bo, 64, a former minister of commerce and party chief, is accused of taking bribes of more than $3.5 million, mainly from a young billionaire, Xu Ming.

Chinese authorities allege that Xu bought the Cannes villa and gave it to the Bo family, the New York Times said.

French documents show that people close to the Bo family have been involved with the villa since 2001.

A close family friend and British businessman, Neil Heywood, managed the villa for four years until his death in 2011.

Bo's wife, Gu Kailai, has been convicted of killing Heywood over a failed business deal.

Bo is also accused of taking $850,000 from Xu for travel and other expenses in the name of Bo's wife and son.

He also allegedly embezzled $800,000 from a Dalian government construction agency.

The trial is set to begin within a few weeks, and political analysts told the Times that a lengthy prison sentence is a likely outcome.

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