Politician's wife 'killed Briton to keep her financial affairs secret'

 

Chongqing

The British businessman Neil Heywood, whose death has sparked political upheaval in China, was poisoned after he threatened to expose a plan by a leading politician's wife to move money abroad, it was claimed yesterday.

The allegations, which follow an investigation by Reuters, give for the first time a specific motive for Mr Heywood's murder last November, a death that ended Chinese leader Bo Xilai's hopes of emerging as a top central leader and threw the Communist Party's looming leadership succession off balance .

The two sources for the investigation have close ties to Chinese police and said they were given details of the circumstances into the 41-year-old 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 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 source said, summarising the police case. Both sources have spoken to investigators in Chongqing, the south-western Chinese city where Mr Heywood was killed and where Mr Bo had cast himself as a crime-fighting Communist Party leader.

Ms Gu is in custody on suspicion of committing or arranging the murder, though no details of the motive or the crime have been publicly released, other than a general comment from Chinese state media that he was killed after a financial dispute. They said Mr Heywood – who was formerly a close friend of Ms Gu and and had been helping her with her overseas financial dealings – was killed after he threatened to expose what she was doing.

"Heywood told her that if she thought he was being too greedy, then he didn't need to become involved and wouldn't take a penny of the money, but he also said he could expose it," one source said. The sources said police suspect Mr Heywood was poisoned by a drink. They did not know precisely where he died in Chongqing. David Cameron will raise Mr Heywood's death at a meeting in Downing Street today with a senior official from the Chinese Communist Party.

The talks with politburo member Li Changchun were set up to discuss trade, educational and cultural links between the two countries. But Downing Street yesterday confirmed Mr Cameron planned to ask him about the businessman's mysterious death. A spokeswoman said: "I think he will echo what the Foreign Secretary has said, that we welcome the investigation that is ongoing and we look forward to seeing the outcome of that."

Mr Li is the first senior Chinese official to visit the UK since it was reported that Gu Kailai had been arrested on suspicion of murder. The Foreign Office has been under pressure over its response.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Assistant

£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a leading company in the field ...

Recruitment Genius: DBA Developer - SQL Server

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

£26041 - £34876 per annum: Recruitment Genius: There has never been a more exc...

Recruitment Genius: Travel Customer Service and Experience Manager

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...

Day In a Page

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen
RuPaul interview: The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head

RuPaul interview

The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head
Secrets of comedy couples: What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?

Secrets of comedy couples

What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?
Satya Nadella: As Windows 10 is launched can he return Microsoft to its former glory?

Satya Nadella: The man to clean up for Windows?

While Microsoft's founders spend their billions, the once-invincible tech company's new boss is trying to save it
The best swimwear for men: From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer

The best swimwear for men

From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer
Mark Hix recipes: Our chef tries his hand at a spot of summer foraging

Mark Hix goes summer foraging

 A dinner party doesn't have to mean a trip to the supermarket
Ashes 2015: With an audacious flourish, home hero Ian Bell ends all debate

With an audacious flourish, the home hero ends all debate

Ian Bell advances to Trent Bridge next week almost as undroppable as Alastair Cook and Joe Root, a cornerstone of England's new thinking, says Kevin Garside
Aaron Ramsey interview: Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season

Aaron Ramsey interview

Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season
Community Shield: Arsene Wenger needs to strike first blow in rivalry with Jose Mourinho

Community Shield gives Wenger chance to strike first blow in rivalry with Mourinho

As long as the Arsenal manager's run of games without a win over his Chelsea counterpart continues it will continue to dominate the narrative around the two men
The unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth - and what it says about English life

Unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth

Bournemouth’s elevation to football’s top tier is one of the most improbable of recent times. But it’s illustrative of deeper and wider changes in English life
A Very British Coup, part two: New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel

A Very British Coup, part two

New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel
Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Icy dust layer holds organic compounds similar to those found in living organisms