Briton killed by Bo Xilai’s wife was spy, says report

Updated 07 November 2012
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Briton killed by Bo Xilai’s wife was spy, says report

BEIJING:A British businessman murdered by the wife of top Chinese politician Bo Xilai had informed on the couple for over a year to his country’s spy agency, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday.
Neil Heywood shared details derived from his unusually close access to the powerful couple, the paper said, citing his friends and current and former British officials.
The revelation that Heywood was murdered brought down Bo and revealed rifts among top leaders as they negotiated a once-a-decade power handover set to take place this month.
“He had been knowingly providing information about the Bo family to Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, known as MI6, for more than a year,” the report said.
It said Heywood became close to the family in the 1990s when Bo was mayor of the northeastern city of Dalian. He was found dead in November last year in the southwestern city of Chongqing, which Bo ran at the time.
Heywood drove a silver Jaguar with the license plate “007,” although people who knew him said he kept a low profile among fellow expatriates, the Journal said.
He operated a consultancy that relied on his connections to advise businesses how to manage Chinese bureaucracy.
After meeting someone in 2009 who later acknowledged being an MI6 officer, Heywood “met that person regularly in China” and provided “information on Bo’s private affairs,” the paper said.
Bo’s wife was given a suspended death sentence in August for poisoning Heywood. Bo was removed from the ruling Communist Party’s top 25-member Politburo and now awaits trial for abuse of power and other charges.
Heywood’s links with the family frayed in the last two years of his life. He had not seen Bo for a year when he apparently sought to obtain money, which he thought the family owed him as he prepared to leave China, the report said.
The businessman seemed to have grown stressed, having gained weight and begun smoking more, and was increasingly worried that his e-mail and phone calls were being monitored.
When he flew to Chongqing to meet the Bo family, he feared he was in trouble, a friend who spoke to him that day told the Journal.
However, neither Chinese nor British officials pointed to Heywood’s spy links as a reason for his murder, it said.




His death was initially attributed to alcohol consumption. Bo’s police chief and four subordinates were jailed in September for attempting to cover up the role of Bo’s wife.
A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman declined to comment on the report.
In London, a spokesman for British Prime Minister David Cameron told reporters: “We never discuss intelligence matters.”


Malaysia reopens grisly murder case linked to former PM Najib

Updated 2 min 8 sec ago
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Malaysia reopens grisly murder case linked to former PM Najib

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian police have reopened an investigation into the grisly murder of a young Mongolian woman in 2006 which has been linked to the country’s ousted leader, reports said Friday.
Altantuya Shaariibuu was shot dead and her body blown up with military-grade plastic explosives near Kuala Lumpur.
The murder was the most shocking aspect in a scandal involving allegations that an associate of recently toppled Prime Minister Najib Razak arranged huge kickbacks for the purchase of French submarines in 2002.
The case captivated Malaysia for years and there have long been allegations that Najib — defense minister at the time of the deal — and his wife Rosmah Mansor were involved. They have steadfastly denied the claims.
Two government bodyguards were convicted of the killing and sentenced to death. One subsequently fled to Australia, where he is in detention, and maintains he was ordered by “important people” to carry out the murder.
Altantuya’s father visited Malaysia this week. He met new Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who backed re-opening the investigation, and lodged a fresh police report about the murder.
“I can confirm we are reopening investigations,” national police chief Mohamad Fuzi Harun was cited as saying by The Star newspaper.
“We will conduct our duties without fear or favor.”
Eric Paulsen, head of local rights group Lawyers for Liberty, said that Najib should be among the new witnesses to be interviewed by the police.
“We want to know why Altantuya was killed and who ordered her killing,” he said.
Malaysians broke the six-decade stranglehold on power of Najib’s coalition at elections last month, and voted in a reformist alliance headed by 92-year-old Mahathir.
Altantuya was the mistress of Najib’s associate, Abdul Razak Baginda, and was alleged to have demanded a cut in the submarine deal for translating during negotiations.
Abdul Razak was cleared in 2008 of abetting the murder.
The bodyguard who fled to Australia, Sirul Azhar Umar, recently said he is willing to assist any new government investigation into the case, a potential major breakthrough.