Bo Xilai denies charges of bribery

Bo Xilai denies charges of bribery

Former senior official Bo Xilai denied bribery charges against him during the first day of the high-profile court hearing on Thursday.

Bo, 64, a former member of the country's top-ruling Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and former Party chief of Chongqing, stood on trial on charges of bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power at Jinan Intermediate People's Court.

"The judge had given the prosecutors and Bo enough opportunities to pose questions during the trial, and Bo's rights as a defendant have been guaranteed," said Liu Yanjie, the court's spokesman.

According to the indictment, from 1999 to 2012, Bo was asked by Tang Xiaolin, general manager of Dalian International Development, and Xu Ming, chairman of Dalian Shide Group, to provide help for related parties and individuals to obtain preferential quotas to import cars and work on petrochemical projects, and in doing so Bo took advantage of his posts as mayor of Dalian, secretary of the CPC Dalian committee, governor of Liaoning province and Minister of Commerce.

In return, Bo accepted bribes worth about 21.8 million yuan (S$4.5 million) from Tang and Xu directly, or through his wife Bogu Kailai and his son Bo Guagua.

In 2002, while serving as governor of Liaoning province, Bo used his post to conspire with others to embezzle 5 million yuan of public funds from the Dalian government.

In January and February of 2012, while serving as Chongqing Party chief, Bo abused his power when it was reported that Bogu Kailai was suspected of intentional homicide, and when then vice-mayor of Chongqing Wang Lijun fled, the indictment said.

Further abuses of power include impeding the reinvestigation of Bogu Kailai's case and approving the release of false news that Wang was on "sick leave."

Bo's actions caused delays in the reinvestigation and led to Wang fleeing to the US consulate in Chengdu.

His behaviour has had a severe social impact and damaged the country and the people's interests. Bo will bear criminal responsibility for taking bribes, embezzlement and abuse of power, the indictment said.

Bo made a statement denying the charge of bribery on Thursday.

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