Concerns about the credibility of the legal system were raised throughout the five-day trial against Bo, in which the court heard that Gu Kailai attempted to cover up her family assets through complicated business dealings with tycoons. But Gu was only charged with murdering her business partner, Briton Neil Heywood, last year, for which she was handed a suspended death sentence.
“It is almost certain that Gu will face a separate new trial for economic crimes,” said a legal expert with close knowledge of the case who did not want to be named.
The court presiding over Bo’s case heard that property tycoon Xu Ming paid €2.3 million (HK$23.5 million) on Gu’s behalf for a villa in France, set up several companies, and borrowed from a bank to evade taxes and conceal the couple’s links to the property, but Gu retained firm control and de facto ownership of the villa.
According to Gu’s testimony, Xu also paid 3.2 million yuan for luxury travel for Gu’s son, Bo Guagua , from 2004 to 2012. Guagua’s trip to Africa in August 2011 cost Xu more than US$100,000.
Gu was previously convicted of murdering Briton Neil Heywood in 2012, for which she received a suspended death sentence.
“It is theoretically possible for the court to impose a death sentence without suspension,” Li Heping, a lawyer, told the SCMP. “But it is very unlikely in Gu’s case, unless the court is convinced that the economic crimes were more serious than murder.”