Bo claims ex-police chief was in love with Gu

Bo claims ex-police chief was in love with Gu
Bo Xilai (centre) being led out of the courtroom after his trial on Monday.

CHINA - A sensational trial seen as one of China's most contentious in decades has ended, with prosecutors pressing for a severe sentence for an unrepentant Bo Xilai.

Speaking publicly for possibly the last time, Bo, 64, stuck to his guns right to the end. He denied abusing his power, as well as accepting bribes and embezzling, both amounting to nearly 27 million yuan (S$5.6 million).

After earlier surprises about spats and slaps, he saved the best for last, telling the court how he had burst in on a love confession by his former police chief Wang Lijun to his wife Gu Kailai.

The bombshell capped the five-day trial, considered remarkable for its relative length, unprecedented use of social media to broadcast court exchanges and Bo's feisty self-defence.

Once tipped to become one of China's top-ranked leaders, Bo fell from power after being entangled in his wife's murder of Briton Neil Heywood in late 2011.

He allegedly used his power as Chongqing party boss at the time to stop Wang from investigating the murder and later to remove him as police chief. This led Wang to seek protection at the American consulate in nearby Chengdu city last year.

Bo, who on Sunday admitted slapping Wang, told the court on Monday that it was not his slap that caused Wang to flee.

"The real reason, as Wang confessed himself, was that he was secretly in love with Gu Kailai," he said, according to court transcripts.

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