JINAN - Ousted Chinese political star Bo Xilai denied the first of the allegations against him Thursday as he went on trial for bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power in the country's highest-profile prosecution for decades.
Bo was charged with abusing his political powers to cover up his wife's murder of a British businessman in 2011, according to the Twitter-like weibo account of the Intermediate People's Court in Jinan, in eastern China.
A picture of the once powerful-politician posted online by the court showed him standing in the dock wearing an open-necked white shirt and looking pensive, his hands crossed in front of him.
Prosecutors said he "received 21.8 million yuan" ($3.6 million) in bribes while mayor of the northeastern port city of Dalian, governor of Liaoning province and national minister of commerce, and that he also embezzled another 5.0 million yuan of public funds.
Bribes were received through Bo's wife Gu Kailai and their son Bo Guagua, they said.
In a statement the court said that Gu - who was handed a suspended death sentence for murder last year - provided evidence relating to the bribery charges.
But Bo denied one of the elements, that he had accepted more than 1.0 million yuan in bribes from Dalian-based businessman Tang Xiaolin, saying he had "confessed against his will" while under interrogation by the ruling Communist party's internal disciplinary body.
"I was willing to accept my legal responsibilities," he said. "But I was not at all aware about the details of the matter. My mind was blank at the time."