Bo Xilai (C), former secretary of the Chongqing Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and a former member of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau, is sentenced to life imprisonment for bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power, at the Jinan Intermediate People's Court in Jinan City, capital of east China's Shandong Province, Sept. 22, 2013. He was deprived of political rights for life. The court announced the verdict. (Xinhua/Xie Huanchi)
JINAN, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) -- Bo Xilai, former secretary of the Chongqing Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and a former member of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau, was sentenced to life imprisonment on Sunday for bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power.
He was deprived of political rights for life, and his personal assets were also confiscated.
The Jinan Intermediate People's Court in east China's Shandong Province announced the verdict.
Bo was found guilty of taking bribes totaling 20.44 million yuan (about 3.3 million U.S. dollars), either personally or through his family members, between 1999 and 2012.
Bo's position had been rising during this period, from the mayor of the Dalian in northeast Liaoning province, to the CPC secretary of the city, to the governor of Liaoning and Commerce Minister.
In return, Bo helped Dalian International Development Co. Ltd., of which Tang Xiaolin was general manager, in taking over the Dalian City liaison office in Shenzhen and also helped Tang obtain quota licenses for importing cars, the court said.
According to court findings, Bo granted Xu Ming, chairman of Dalian Shide Group Co. Ltd., favors in the company's introduction of a football-like sightseeing hot-air balloon and in its bid for a petrochemical project.
The court found that Bo directly accepted cash totaling 1.1 million yuan from Tang. He was aware of and showed no objection to the fact that his wife Bogu Kailai and their son, Bo Guagua, accepted monetary gains and properties worth 19.33 million yuan from Xu.
According to the verdict, Bo Xilai, while Party chief Dalian in 2000, assigned Wang Zhenggang, then urban planning chief of the city, to take charge of a project to be built by Dalian for an unidentified higher authority.
In March 2002, after the project was completed, the higher authority allocated 5 million yuan to refund the project. Wang proposed that Bo, who had moved to become the governor of Liaoning, use money to cover the expenses of his family. Bo consented and asked Wang to approach his wife Bogu Kailai for the matter.
The 5 million yuan was eventually transferred to an account designated by Bogu.
The court's judgement said on Nov. 13, 2011, Bogu and Zhang Xiaojun murdered British citizen Neil Heywood by poisoning him at the Lucky Holiday Hotel in Chongqing. Heywood's body was found on Nov. 15.
Guo Weiguo, then deputy police chief of Chongqing, was in charge of the Heywood case, but he failed to pursue the case to protect Bogu, the court said.
On Jan. 28, 2012, Wang Lijun, then Chongqing's police chief and vice mayor, told Bo Xilai, then Chongqing's Party chief and member of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau that Bogu was the suspect.
Bo later lashed out at Wang for framing a murder accusation against Bogu, slapping Wang's face and smashing a cup.
At the request of Bogu, Bo asked Wu Wenkang, then deputy secretary general of Chongqing's Party committee, to launch an investigation against Wang Zhi and Wang Pengfei.
The two had been involved in the investigation of the Heywood case but had then handed over a resignation letter in order to expose the murder case.
Bo asked Chongqing's Public Security Bureau to interrogate Wang Pengfei. Bo proposed and approved the withdrawal of the nomination of Wang Pengfei as a candidate for deputy head of Yubei District of Chongqing.
In his bid to prevent a review of the Heywood case, Bo also violated the organizational procedures and convened a Standing Committee meeting of the CPC Chongqing Municipal Committee to remove Wang Lijun from his position as Chongqing's police chief.
After Wang Lijun's defection to the U.S. Consulate General in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province on Feb. 6, Bo allowed his wife to take part in official meetings to deal with the impact, and sanctioned her suggestion of asking a hospital to fake a diagnosis that Wang suffered from mental illness. Bo also approved the release of the false information that Wang was receiving a "vacation-style treatment."
The verdict said Bo's these actions were important reasons behind Wang's defection and why the Heywood case was not handled in a timely and legal manner.
All these had created an extremely adverse social impact and greatly hurt the interests of the country and its people, the court said.
The court found Bo guilty of bribe-taking, in that as a public servant, he used his power to seek benefits for others and illegally took money and properties from others.
Also as a public servant, Bo took advantage of his position and embezzled public funds with other accomplices, the facts of which constituted the crime of embezzlement.
The court said Bo's abuse of power is extremely serious and has led to huge losses to the state and the people.
The court held that there are sufficient and authentic evidences to support prosecutors' charges against Bo: accepting bribes worth 20.44 million yuan (about 3.3 million U.S. dollars), embezzling public funds of 5 million yuan and abusing his power.
Though Bo himself and his lawyer had denied all three charges, the court said these charges are supported by testimonies by several witnesses including Tang Xiaolin, Xu Ming, Bogu Kailai, Wang Zhenggang, Wang Lijun and others, as well as other evidence such as photographs of physical evidence, documentary evidence and electronic data.
In addition, Bo himself has also confessed to part of the facts, and his confession corroborated with those facts.
The court did, however, exclude 1.34 million yuan from the bribery accepted by Bo, saying that there are not enough evidence to support the charge that Xu Ming paid the amount in air tickets for Bogu Kailai and Bo Guagua and that Bo was aware of this.
The illicit money and goods that Bo accepted as bribes or embezzled have been recovered or compensated, the court said.
The Jinan Intermediate People's Court said its verdict was based on the facts, the nature and the circumstances of Bo's crimes and their harm to the society.