Monday, April 16, 2012

#China : Poisoned Neil Heywood ' Got Too Greedy'

A British businessman was murdered in China after he “became greedy” and demanded a bigger slice of the profits from a secret £800 million deal run by the wife of a Communist party official, it was claimed.
The death of Old Harrovian Neil Heywood, 41, has caused political uproar in the country but this is the first time details of a possible motive have emerged. He was allegedly killed with a cyanide-laced drink in a secluded hilltop hotel in the city of Chongqing last November.

Gu Kilai is accused of arranging the death of Mr Heywood after meeting him at the hotel. Mr Heywood is alleged to have helped Ms Gu and her husband Bo Xilai, the mayor of Chongqing, siphon away money to offshore accounts.

She now faces a possible death sentence for “intentional homicide”. Mr Bo, once tipped for a place on the Politburo that runs the country, is under house arrest and faces a Communist Party investigation for “serious disciplinary breaches”.

Wang Kang, a well-connected Chongqing businessman, said today: “Bo and Gu had not been a proper husband and wife for years. Gu and Heywood had a deep personal relationship and she took the break between them to heart. Her mentality was, ‘you betrayed me, and so I’ll get my revenge’. ”

A city official, Xia Deliang, has also been arrested and allegedly confessed that he prepared the poison and handed
 it to an employee of Mr Bo. Mr Heywood met the couple in the Nineties. He became a mentor to their son and helped him get a place at Harrow.

Mr Heywood, who lived in a gated compound in Beijing with his Chinese wife and two young children, is then believed to have helped manage the family’s finances as Mr Bo moved to jobs in Beijing then Chongqing.

But he fell out with Ms Gu in 2010 when she became paranoid over anti-corruption investigations into her family’s finances. Today reports claimed Ms Gu summoned Mr Heywood to the Nanshan Lijing hotel last November. Mr Heywood is said to have demanded a larger cut for the latest transfer of money sent overseas.

A source close to the Chinese police investigation said: “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 also expose it.

“After Ms Gu found that Heywood wouldn’t agree to go along and was even resisting with threats — that he could expose this money — then that was a major risk to her and Mr Bo.”

David Cameron is set to discuss the case with Li Changchun, propaganda chief of the Chinese communist party, when they meet at Number 10 tomorrow.

Downing Street said the case was “likely to come up”, adding: “He will echo what the Foreign Secretary has said on this which is that we welcome the investigation that is ongoing and we look forward to seeing the outcomes of that but we are pleased it has started.”

The Foreign Office is under pressure to explain why it took so long to demand explanations over the death of a British national abroad — and why it accepted the original Chinese claim that Mr Heywood died as a result of alcohol poisoning.