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No one discusses bribery on phone: Bo Xilai

Under trial Communist leader Bo Xilai continued his defiance on Saturday, dismissing a former colleague’s testimony that he had taken bribes as illogical. Sutirtho Patranobis reports.

world Updated: Aug 24, 2013 18:22 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times
Bo Xilai,Bo Xilai trial,Bo Xilai corruption

Under trial Communist leader Bo Xilai continued his defiance on Saturday, dismissing a former colleague’s testimony that he had taken bribes as illogical.

Bo, however, accepted his culpability is receiving 5 million Yuan (or more than $817000) which was siphoned off from a government project and funneled to his wife Gu Kailai’s bank account.

Crucially on Saturday, Wang Lijun, former vice mayor of Chongqing Municipality and its police chief, appeared in court on Saturday afternoon to testify on the charge of abuse of power against Bo Xilai.

Wang was sentenced in September last year to 15 years in prison for bending the law for selfish ends, defection, abuse of power and bribe-taking.

“Wang, who had served as police chief of Chongqing, covered up the murder case of Bogu Kailai, Bo's wife. Wang also entered the US consulate to attempt to defect while performing his official duties, according to the verdict by the Chengdu Intermediate People's Court,” state-run Xinhua said.

Bo was accused of approving the release of false news that Wang was receiving "vocation-style treatment" before his defection.

Saturday was the third day of Bo’s trial at the Intermediate People’s Court in Jinan in eastern China’s Shandong province where he is standing trial after being indicted for accepting bribes, embezzlement and abuse of power

Former director of the urban and rural planning bureau of Dalian, Wang Zhenggang, told the court that he was present when Bo told his wife to accept kickbacks from a construction project; Bo at that time was the mayor of Dalian city.

Bo refuted the testimony, saying he had no need for the money as his wife was a successful lawyer and his son's study in the UK was funded through a full scholarship.

He also mocked Mr Wang's testimony, saying: "Is this in line with the way an embezzler would think?...Would I say something this sensitive on the phone?''

"It is not even what the most stupid corruption offender would do," he said.

But he went on to say that soon after Wang Zhenggang returned with the offer. Bo claimed that he then told Wang that he could talk to his wife, Gu Kailai about it.

According to the testimonies, which is being uploaded via the court’s official microblog,

Bo said, according to his testimony, that he allowed Wang to speak to Gu about the money because he “lacked alertness”, which is how the money ended up going to her.

“After Gu and Wang had their discussions, I did not go and investigate, I let it slide. It was more than a decade ago, I don't really remember the details,” Bo said, adding: “This money had already gone into my wife's account, leading to the personal use of public money.”

“I am willing to approve the analysis of the prosecutors after their investigation, and at the same time accept legal responsibility for this. I am deeply ashamed and regretful about this incident,” Bo said, according to the released testimony.

Bo said he took an "indulgent" attitude to the issue, state-run Xinhua reported. “Prosecutors said the accusations about the illegal embezzlement of the project funds were presented clearly and the evidence was authentic,” the report said.

In the previous two days of trial, prosecutors accused Bo of accepting bribes worth about 21.8 million Yuan (about 3.5 million U.S. dollars) from businessmen Tang Xiaolin and Xu Ming and embezzling five million yuan in public funds from the Dalian municipal government, but Bo denied the charges.

Bo was also accused of abusing power when dealing with his wife Bogu Kailai's murder case and the defection of his associate, Wang Lijun, in 2012.

First Published: Aug 24, 2013 15:11 IST