Bo Xilai trial: Lavish gifts, special favours and cosy ties

Bo Xilai trial: Lavish gifts, special favours and cosy ties

JINAN - Deliveries rarely get more special than a carton of quality stationery that Chinese prosecutors say was left for Bo Xilai: Hidden among the expensive envelopes and paper were eight bundles of US$100 notes amounting to US$80,000 (S$101,400).

A businessman came bearing that gift on a visit to the then Commerce Minister's office in 2005, placing it innocuously beside Bo's work desk.

"The house in Shenzhen is built... There is US$80,000 here for you," the businessman, Tang Xiaolin, said in his testimony to Chinese prosecutors.

The cash was for Bo's help in a Shenzhen real estate deal that made at least 16 million yuan (S$3.3 million) in profits for Tang's firm. Bo had eased the deal by signing an appeal letter to the southern city's Mayor Yu Youjun.

Bo did not say a word when Tang left the gift for him, Tang said, merely nodding and accepting it.

Bo has denied Tang's account.

The episode, one of many unveiled during the ongoing trial of Bo for corruption and abuse of power, has opened a rare window into the world of top-level graft in China.

Transcripts of testimony by key witnesses in the trial further revealed how businessmen who tried to ingratiate themselves with powerful officials like Bo would even help to run errands.

Some, for instance, assisted the leaders and their families in booking air tickets. Others took the initiative to scout for good property deals overseas.

A few businessmen even took on the role of a "caring uncle" who would lavish gifts on the leaders' children and take care of their expensive education abroad.

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