The Communist Party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) has officially handed Bo Xilai’s case over to “judicial organs”, according to a terse statement released by Xinhua earlier this week.
The Telegraph reports:
While the report hinted that Mr Bo’s day in court could be approaching, Xinhua failed to give a date or location for the trial or any further details.
Online, there was speculation that the announcement was simply a ruse to divert media attention from an ongoing row over press freedom that has now seen three days of protests in southeast China.
However, Willy Lam, a politics expert from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said Mr Bo’s trial could well be held in February.
“I think there are good reasons to wrap it up before the National People’s Congress [NPC] in March,” he said. “I think there is a good chance the judicial process will begin, perhaps after the Chinese New Year. They don’t want the Bo case to be a distraction at the NPC and I think they have already collected enough evidence.” Mr Bo, the former party chief of Chongqing, was toppled from power in early 2012 in the aftermath of the mysterious death of British businessman Neil Heywood.
This is the first official mention of Bo Xilai since he was expelled from the Communist Party in November, setting the stage for his eventual trial and (inevitable) conviction.
The law violation case involving Liu Zhijun, former minister of railways, has been transferred to judicial organs as well, according to CCDI.
In other Bo news, Deutsche Bank is reportedly seeking $557m linked to the Bo family.
US$557 million is being sought in a Hong Kong lawsuit brought by Deutsche Bank against a Dalian business magnate on a defaulted loan linked to the money laundering activities of disgraced former Chongqing Communist Party chief Bo Xilai, reports the Sound of Hope, a global non-profit news organization reportedly affiliated with the Falun Gong spiritual movement that is banned in China.
According to a Sound of Hope source, the missing funds are currently under the control of Bo’s 25-year-old son Bo Guagua, who has remained in the United States following his graduation from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.