China: Bo Xilai corruption trial ends with politician claiming love triangle was reason for his downfall

Disgraced statesman denounces wife and former right hand man and attempts to portray himself as honest man surrounded by corruption

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The Independent Online

China's most sensational trial in decades ended on Monday with Bo Xilai seemingly attempting to shift the blame in a corruption scandal by hinting at a love triangle involving his wife and former right hand man.

In his testimony, the disgraced politician denounced both his wife, Gu Kailai, as crazy and his former police chief, Wang Lijun, as dishonest, as he has attempted to paint a picture of himself as an official who worked too hard to scrutinise his family's affairs and who was surrounded by conniving, duplicitous people.

Throughout his trial, Bo, a former Communist party chief in the south west city of Chongqing, has denied any wrongdoing. He has mounted a vigorous defence against charges that he acquired £2.8m through bribes, embezzlement and interfering with the murder investigation of British businessman Neil Heywood.

The politician's wife, Gu Kailai, was convicted for the murder of Heywood in August 2012. Speaking to the court, Bo attempted to lay the reason for his downfall at the feet of his estranged wife and his former right hand man:

"[Wang] was secretly in love with Gu Kailai, his emotions were tangled and he could not extricate himself."

Although prosecutors have said that the proceedings have proved Bo's guilt, the disgraced politician refused to denounce the party or his political opponents, a move that has been interpreted as an attempt to appeal to party loyalists and increase his chances of making a comeback once he has served his sentence, if found guilty.

"I deeply feel that I failed to govern my family and it had a negative effect on the state," Bo said. "I sincerely accept the investigation from the party and the judicial departments, but the charge of corruption is not true."

Bo was accused, among other things, of providing political favours to a businessman, Xu Ming, in return for having him at his family's beck and call. According to Bo's wife, Xu gave the family expensive gifts that included a villa in France, international airfare to three continents, and a Segway scooter. Gu said she had told Bo about the gifts. 

He is also accused of embezzling £500,000 in government funds, as well as using his power as the Communist party secretary of Chongqing to block an investigation into Heywood's murder, as well as to hide Wang's flight to a US consulate, which began the scandal over the murder.

Bo repeated his doubts about the evidence presented by prosecutors while introducing a bizarre twist to the narrative. He said that Wang tried to defect to the consulate early last year, not in a dispute over the investigation into the murde, but because he had confessed his feelings to Gu and was worried Bo would be angry. 

"He knew my personality, he'd trespassed on my family and violated my basic emotions, this is the real reason he decided to defect. Wang Lijun in reality is trying to muddy the waters," Bo said. 

He also said that Gu and Wang were as close as "glue and lacquer" and that they had a ''very special relationship; I was frustrated by that."

A date for the verdict has not yet been given.