Heywood may have been killed for threat to expose politician's wife

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The Independent Online

British businessman Neil Heywood, whose murder has sparked political upheaval in China, is alleged to have been poisoned after he threatened to expose a plan by a leading politician's wife to move money abroad.

The revelations, in an investigation by Reuters, reveal a motive for Mr Heywood's murder last November, which ended Chinese politician Bo Xilai's hopes of emerging as a top central leader and threw off balance the Communist Party's looming leadership succession.

The two sources for the investigation have close ties to Chinese police, according to the news agency, and said they were given details of the circumstances into Mr Heywood's death. Mr Bo's wife, Gu Kailai, asked Mr Heywood late last year to move a large sum of money abroad and she became outraged when he demanded a larger cut of the money than she had expected due to the size of the transaction, the sources said.

She accused him of being greedy and hatched a plan to kill him after he said he could expose her dealings, one of the sources said, summarising the police case. Both sources have spoken to investigators in Chongqing, where Mr Heywood was killed and where Mr Bo had cast himself as a crime-fighting Communist Party leader. Ms Gu is in police custody on suspicion of committing or arranging the murder. Chinese state media said he was killed after a financial dispute. The sources said Mr Heywood – a friend of Ms Gu who had been helping her with her overseas financial dealings – was killed after threatening to expose what she was doing. "Heywood told her if she thought he was being too greedy, he didn't need to become involved and wouldn't take a penny of the money, but he also said he could expose it," the first source said.