Dawn News

BEIJING, July 26: The wife of Bo Xilai, the former political leader whose downfall sent shockwaves through China, has been charged with murdering a British businessman, state news agency Xinhua said on Thursday.

Gu Kailai, a former international lawyer whose husband was one of China’s most promising political leaders until his dramatic fall from grace this year, will face trial for intentional homicide, Xinhua reported in a brief dispatch.

Zhang Xiaojun, previously described as an orderly who worked for the high-flying couple, would also be prosecuted on the same charge, it said, citing authorities.

Xinhua said there was “irrefutable and substantial” evidence that the pair had poisoned Neil Heywood, a British businessman who had commercial dealings with Bo and his wife. “Investigation results show that Bogu Kailai, one of the defendants, and her son surnamed Bo had conflicts with the British citizen Neil Heywood over economic interests,” said Xinhua, using Gu’s married name.

“Worrying about Neil Heywood’s threat to her son’s personal security, Bogu Kailai along with Zhang Xiaojun, the other defendant, poisoned Neil Heywood to death.”

Little is known about the nature of Heywood’s relationship with the couple’s son Bo Guagua, although he is reported to have helped secure a place for him at Harrow, the exclusive British school that Heywood himself attended. —AFP

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