Bo Xilai with his wife Gu Kailai in happier times. Their current whereabouts are unknown.
The plot thickens in Chongqing as the UK hands in a formal request to the Chinese government to investigate the death of a British businessman with links to Bo Xilai, the former party chief of the southwestern metropolis who was spectacularly ousted after the National People’s Congress ended two weeks ago.
Jeremy Page of the Wall Street Journal has the scoop on Neil Heywood, the UK businessman who died under mysterious circumstances last year:
Mr. Heywood was found dead in his Chongqing hotel room in November. Local authorities swiftly declared that he died of “excessive alcohol consumption,” and cremated the body without an autopsy, according to people familiar with the case. Friends have since raised suspicions with the British embassy, pointing out that he was a teetotaler.
Friends and acquaintances of Heywood say he told them of his connections to Bo’s second wife, Gu Kailai, and that he could help them set up meetings and business deals in Chongqing. Gu is believed to have been the first Chinese lawyer to win a civil case in the United States and is the owner of her own law firm.
The Wall Street Journal also cites unnamed sources familiar with the case that former police chief Wang Lijun’s fallout with Bo Xilai began after suggesting that he believed Heywood was poisoned.
Read the rest of the murky details here.
UPDATE: One site alleges that Heywood was “an otherwise ordinary English butler” whose job it was to take care of Bo Guagua, the son of Bo Xilai and Gu Kailai. The claim has not been independently verified.