Bo Xilai family

Bo Xilai family

19 April 2012. While Bo Xilai, the former party chief of Chongqing, is reportedly being investigated by central authorities, Bloomberg revealed that Bo’s wife Gu Kailai and her sisters controlled a web of businesses from Beijing to Hong Kong to the Caribbean worth at least $126 million. Gu Kailai, 53, was the youngest of five daughters of a People’s Liberation Army general Gu Jingsheng.

While Gu remained a politburo wife, her sisters focused on business rather than politics.  Gu Wangjiang, 64, the oldest, is a Hong Kong national who owns $114 million in shares of an eastern China printing company, according to a Shenzhen exchange filing tracked by Bloomberg.

Wangjiang and her sister, Gu Wangning, serve as directors of several other companies in Hong Kong. They are said to have made millions selling Hong Kong real estate. Another sister, Gu Zhengxie, 62, was a top official at one of the country’s biggest state-owned companies.

Bo’s older brother, Bo Xiyong, served as executive director and deputy general manager 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.

This is only what Bloomberg has unearthed so far. But there will be a lot more stashed away in tax havens and liberal countries.

Gu family’s success is an example of how political and family connections can win money and power in China. It does not matter whether Gu family used Bo’s influence or their father’s connections, but it is outright corruption that enabled them to amass such scandalous wealth. Even President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao, have children who are top executives of state owned companies. Usually the wealth is in the name of extended family members or friends to avoid detection.

Gu Kailai is under investigation for the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood who was a Bo family friend. It was suggested that Heywood played a role in admitting Bo’s son in a British private school. It was reported that Gu contacted Heywood to get some money out of the country. Heywood wanted a commission that Gu thought was too high. When she refused the commission Heywood is alleged to have threatened to expose Gu’s corruption. Now Gu was in a stage where she had to get rid of him.

British government has asked Chinese government to investigate the death of British citizen Neil Heywood’s death in Chongqing.

Some overseas Chinese-language news sites suggested, without sources, that Gu told investigators that she transferred $1.2 billion overseas. Rumours on Chinese-language news sites, especially outside of China, will have to be taken with a pinch of salt.

The news of Bo’s investigation has served to quietened some rumours simmering in the online community after Chongqing’s former police chief Wang Lijun sought asylum at the US general consulate in Chengdu, a neighboring city of Chongqing. The investigation has demonstrated the Communist Party of China’s resolution and transparency in self-discipline.

This political drama has become the largest political storm in China since the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989 in which Bo’s father played a key role.

Here is a YouTube video – Bo Xilai Case Thickens, Murder Coverup Alleged

and another – Wealth of Bo Xilai, Gu Kailai’s Extended Family Under Scrutiny