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Bo Xilai Found Guilty Of Corruption In China
Communist Party politician Bo Xilai has been sentenced to life in prison by a Chinese court following a scandal that culminated in one of the country's highest-profile trials in decades.
Bo, 64, was given a life term for taking 26.8m yuan (£2.73m) in bribes.
The court also gave him 15 years in prison for embezzlement and seven years for abuse of power.
The verdict marks the end of a protracted legal and political saga which began with the murder of a British businessman and caused political ripples right to the heart of China's Communist leadership.
Bo's five-day trial ended last month at the Intermediate People's Court in the eastern city of Jinan.
With unprecedented openness and moments of genuine suspense, it was a Chinese trial like no other before it.
Through televised highlights and minute-by-minute microblog updates from the court, the Chinese public was able to follow Bo's robust self-defence and disdainful cross-examination of witnesses.
Performing with the charisma and trademark flair which has set him apart in Chinese politics, he laughed-off the central accusation against him that he had illegally obtained the 26.8m yuan.
He said money did not interest him, claiming, rather unusually, that even his underwear was 50 years old.
In one of the most dramatic moments of the trial, Bo dismissed the two star witnesses against him - his wife, and his former chief of police - as "crazy" and a "liar" respectively.
In reference to some of the bribery allegations, he complained that "not even the worst TV script writers could come up with such plots".
At times though, the trial itself resembled a soap opera, with Bo revealing a complicated love triangle between himself, his wife Gu Kailai, and Wang Lijun, his former police chief.
The prosecution produced documentary and anecdotal evidence which it claimed showed the Bo family to be extremely wealthy with bulging bank accounts, access to private jets and a villa near Cannes in France.
Stories emerged in court regarding the antics of Bo Guagua, the son of Bo and Gu Kailai.
The young Bo, who studied at Harrow, Oxford and Harvard had, according to the prosecution, jetted across Europe and Africa and been allowed to enjoy a playboy lifestyle which went against all Communist Party principles.
Many of the trips and other financial deals were, the prosecution claimed, the result of Bo's corrupt dealings with businessmen.
Bo had abused his various positions of power over decades.
He had instigated corrupt deals with numerous business associates with whom his relationship should never have been financial.
For almost two decades, from 1985, Bo climbed up the Communist Party ladder from mayor of the northeastern port city of Dalian, to governor of Liaoning Province.
He served as the Chinese government's commerce minister and wowed many foreign counterparts with his relaxed demeanour, modern and apparently capitalist outlook and his political drive.
At one point, it was almost certain he would be chosen as one of the seven men on the Standing Committee of the Politburo who run the country.
However, his career came to a spectacular halt four-and-a-half years after he became Communist Party secretary in the central Chinese city of Chongqing.
The fall from grace was swift and almost inevitable after his wife was accused of the murder of a friend and business associate of the Bo family, a Briton called Neil Heywood.
In a dramatic sequence of events over the winter of 2011-12, the conspiracy began to unravel.
Bo's chief of police in Chongqing left his post and fled to a US consulate.
Wang asked for political asylum and told the Americans that Bo's wife had poisoned Mr Heywood.
His asylum request was rejected but the lurid claim could not be ignored.
The fact Wang had chosen to tell the Americans and not his own superiors was an acute embarrassment for the Communist Party.
Within months, Wang and Gu were tried, convicted and jailed.
The Chinese government presented Bo's trial as the downfall of a corrupt crook.
However, it was widely seen as being far more a political purge of a man who posed a threat to the current leadership of President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang.