Court delves into abuse charges in second day of Bo Xilai trial | News | DW | 23.08.2013
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Court delves into abuse charges in second day of Bo Xilai trial

A court in northeast China has resumed proceedings in the high-profile corruption case of ex-Communist Party star Bo Xilai. Allegations of abuse of power and embezzlement were expected to dominate the trial's second day.

Prosecutors began Friday's proceedings with video testimony aimed at substantiating embezzlement allegations against former rising-star politician, Bo Xilai.

Jinan Intermediate People's Court published the footage of testimony given by Bo's wife on Chinese microblog Sina Weibo, which it has been using to feed information about the high-profile legal proceedings to the publc.

On Friday, prosecutors intended to bring forth evidence that Bo had accepted bribes worth up to $3.5 million (20.7 million yuan, 2.6 million euros) from businessman, Xu Ming.

Bo last served as party boss in the southwest metropolis of Chongqing until a scandal surrounding his wife, Gu Kailai, forced his removal from power in early 2012 and landed him in police custody on charges of covering up a murder and abuse of power. He also faces charges of corruption and embezzlement.

Bo reportedly lost favor within the party despite public popularity for his handling of the case. Rather than reporting the incident to Beijing, Bo opted to sack the police chief - Wang Lijun - who had singled out his wife as a suspect in the murder case. The police chief soon drew attention to the scandal when he fled to the US Consulate in Chengdu and applied for asylum.

Bo 'should have been aware'

Prosecutors allege that Bo and businessman Xu Ming had conducted illegal transactions which led to several large purchases, including a villa in France, a hot-air balloon project and a football club.

While cross-examining Xu on Thursday, Bo repeatedly insisted he had not known about the transactions.

However, Bo's wife confirmed in her pre-recorded video testimony that Xu, the businessman in question on Friday, had been a "family friend."

Bo "should have been aware" of Xu's intentions, Gu said.

"I told him," she added.

The former politician has refuted his wife's reliability as a witness, citing her history of mental health issues and 2012 conviction in the murder case of British businessman Neil Heywood. Gu Kailai received a suspended death sentence last year after confessing to the murder.

Chinese media reaction to proceedings on Thursday, Bo's first day in court, was largely negative.

"The evidence is irrefutable," the People's Daily wrote in a commentary. "Of course Bo Xilai has the right to defend himself…but if he lacks sincerity, then his excuses will be ridiculed.

The Guangming daily also echoed the sentiment, calling him "scheming, domineering and duplicitous."

kms/pfd (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)