TOPAround Asia: Bo Xilai’s French villa could hold the key

Around Asia: Bo Xilai’s French villa could hold the key

By MatthewEditor

A six-bedroom French villa with Mediterranean views could be the key to a high-profile corruption case involving disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai.

The mansion, nestled on a hillside in Cannes, with its own swimming pool and a lavish 4,000-square-meter garden, was allegedly bought by a Chinese billionaire more than a decade ago and given to Bo as a bribe, according to unnamed sources from the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.

French corporate documents also showed that Neil Heywood, the British businessman murdered by Bo’s wife, used to manage the Villa Fontaine Saint Georges at various times before to his death in 2011.

Although documents relating to the villa don’t mention Bo Xilai, Gu or their son, or provide any evidence that their family directly owned the villa.

A source close to Bo’s family told CNN that while Xu bought the mansion, Bo “has no connection with its purchase and ownership.”

Xu disappeared at around the time Bo was detained for his “serious disciplinary violations.”

The findings shed fresh light on one of the most explosive cases that threatened China’s powerful Communist Party.

Bo, once a highflier in the ruling Communist Party, is set to stand trial in Jinan, the capital of east China’s Shandong province, on charges of bribery, corruption and abuse of power.

Bo is accused of taking 20 million yuan ($3.3 million) in bribes through his wife, Gu Kalai, embezzling five million yuan, and abusing his power.

by Maesie Bertumen

Image: Thierry Ehrnam/Flickr