Bo Xilai denies bribery trial as trial begins

Beijing, Aug 22 (IANS) The trial of Bo Xilai, former Communist Party of China (CPC) chief of Chongqing Municipal Committee, opened Thursday with the accused denying a bribery charge against him.

The trial started at about 8.45 a.m. at the Jinan Intermediate People's Court in China's Shandong province, Xinhua reported.

Bo, 64, was charged by the Jinan people's procuratorate. The indictment was delivered to the court July 25.

Bo took advantage of his position as a civil servant to seek gains for others, as well as accepted bribes in the form of large amounts of money and property, according to the indictment.

From 1999 to 2012, the indictment stated, Bo was asked by Tang Xiaolin, general manager of Dalian International Development Co. Ltd, and Xu Ming, chairman of Dalian Shide Group Co. Ltd, to provide help for related parties and individuals to obtain preferential quotas to import cars and work on petrochemical projects, and Bo took advantage of his posts as mayor of Dalian, secretary of CPC Dalian committee, governor of Liaoning Province and minister of commerce in doing so.

In return, Bo accepted bribes worth about 21.8 million yuan (about $3.5 million) from Tang and Xu directly, or through his wife Bogu Kailai and his son Bo Guagua.

"The amount was especially huge," the indictment said.

In 2002, while serving as governor of Liaoning Province, Bo used his post to conspire with others to embezzle five million yuan of public funds from the Dalian government.

"The sum was huge," said the indictment.

In January and February of 2012, while serving as secretary of CPC Chongqing Municipal Committee, Bo abused his power when it was reported that Bogu Kailai was suspected of intentional homicide, and then vice mayor of Chongqing Wang Lijun defected, the indictment said.

Further abuses of power include impeding the reinvestigation of Bogu Kailai's case and approving the release of false news that Wang was receiving "vocation-style treatment".

Bo's actions caused delays to the reinvestigation and led to Wang's defection. His behavior has had a severe social impact and damaged both the country and people's interests. Bo shall bear criminal responsibility for taking bribes, embezzlement and abuse of power, said the indictment.

Bo made a statement denying the charge of bribery.

The CPC central committee had announced in April 2012 that it had decided to suspend Bo's membership in the CPC central committee political bureau and the CPC central committee.

The CPC central commission for discipline inspection also filed a case of investigation against Bo, as he was suspected of being involved in serious disciplinary violations.

In September, the political bureau of the CPC central committee decided to expel Bo from the CPC and his public office. The bureau also decided to transfer Bo's suspected law violations and relevant evidence to judicial organs.

The presiding judge Thursday announced an adjournment at about 6 p.m. The hearing will continue Friday.

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