Published on Apr 17, 2012
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The family wealth of China's fallen political couple has been placed under the spotlight. The siblings of Bo Xilai—the sacked Chongqing party chief now under investigation for "disciplinary violations"—and his wife Gu Kailai—who faces a murder charge of a British businessman—are reported to be linked to several businesses in China and overseas worth millions of dollars.
The family wealth of ousted communist official Bo Xilai has come under media scrutiny, as an official murder investigation continues into the death of British citizen Neil Heywood. Bo's wife is the primary suspect.
Reuters has reported that though Heywood was a close friend of the Bo family, they had a falling out. Bo's wife, Gu Kailai, asked Heywood for help with transferring a large sum of money overseas. He reportedly asked her for a larger cut of money. Gu refused, and Heywood threatened to expose her financial dealings.
Before Bo Xilai was ousted as Chongqing's Communist Party Chief, he had defended his wife. He called Gu, who was a successful lawyer, nothing more than a housewife. Media reports later revealed she has links to several businesses in China, the UK, and the United States. The couple's son also received an elite education from expensive Western schools.
Media reports have also revealed that both Bo and Gu's siblings are connected to successful businesses worth more than one hundred million dollars.
Hong Kong's Apple Daily revealed Bo's older brother, Bo Xiyong, served as executive director and deputy general of state-owned China Everbright Holdings. Bloomberg reported that he holds a post at one of the company's Hong Kong subsidiaries, and receives an annual salary of 1.7 million U.S dollars. He also gets stock options worth nearly 25 million dollars.
Gu Kailai's four sisters are tied to several businesses from Beijing, Hong Kong and the Caribbean. The eldest sister, Gu Wangjiang owns 114 million dollars worth of shares in an printing company in eastern China. Another, Gu Zhengxie, once served as a top official at one of China's largest state-owned companies.
The sprawling wealth of the Gu and Bo families is common within the elites of the Communist regime. Friends and family linked to senior officials are in prime position to receive lucrative business dealings.
Last week, state-run People's Daily ran an article warning that corrupt party officials have been secretly using children, wives, friends and even mistresses to transfer and conceal ill-gotten wealth overseas. Some of these individuals have also sought to obtain foreign residency or citizenship status.