Chinese Communist "princeling" Bo Xilai, expected by many to take a key leadership position in the leadership transition of 2012, was expelled from the Communist Party in September after a career that saw him as Mayor of Dalian City, Minister of Commerce and Party Chief of the Chongqing municipality. His wife Gu Kailai received a suspended death sentence in August 2012 for murdering British business partner Neil Heywood.
Party reveals Bo Xilai graft, blames Gu Kailai
Investigation says ex-Politburo member took 20m yuan bribes; Gu was 'powerful and greedy'
Keith Zhai and Choi Chi-yuk
While Bo Xilai received bribes worth more than 20 million yuan (HK$24.5 million), it was the greed of his wife that brought down the former Politburo member, an internal Communist Party investigation has found, according to sources.
Bo, the party chief of Chongqing until his removal from official posts in March, was expelled by the Politburo from the party on Friday after the conclusion of the internal investigation.
The National People's Congress is now preparing his formal expulsion from the legislature, which will strip him of protection against prosecution, Xinhua reported. Bo faces prosecution for bribery and other offences, though Xinhua did not give details of his alleged misdeeds.
According to four mid-level and senior cadres in Chongqing and other parts of the country who attended briefings on the case in recent days, the internal investigation accused Bo of taking several bribes, including two apartments in Beijing, from more than one businessman.
The value of the bribes mentioned in the party briefings was far lower than the billions of dollars rumoured earlier.
The former lawyer Li Zhuang, who was jailed in Chongqing at the height of Bo's anti-triad campaign there for "fabricating evidence" for a client, doubted the bribe figure was accurate.
"As far as I understand, it was far beyond 20 million yuan," Li said. "Much more than 200 million, I would say."
Xinhua reported on Friday that Bo had seriously violated party discipline while head of Dalian, minister of commerce, party chief of Chongqing and a member of the party's Central Committee and Politburo.
The news agency reported that Bo's breaches of party discipline involved organisational and personnel matters, and he had made errors on promotions.
Three of the sources, who attended different briefings, said the official line held that Bo was ruined by his wife, Gu Kailai, who was portrayed as "powerful and greedy" and took all the bribes. It said it was Gu's idea to promote Wang Lijun to become Chongqing's police chief.
Wang later fell out with Gu after Gu's murder of the British businessmen Neil Heywood in November. In February, Wang, who was then also a vice-mayor of Chongqing, was stripped of his police portfolio.
The party internal briefing revealed Bo made that decision on his own. But before he forwarded the relevant documents to the party's Chongqing committee, Gu reviewed them. The briefing said "someone" raised the question during a Chongqing party meeting of whether Bo needed to report the matter to the central government. Bo replied: "No that's all right, I have made the decision."
Earlier, the South China Morning Post quoted a local source as saying it was the mayor of Chongqing, Huang Qifan, who had openly challenged Bo over Wang's new appointment.
Bo later filed a report to Beijing after Wang's dramatic escape to the US consulate in Chengdu, Sichuan, saying Wang's sacking was related to the depression he suffered from. Bo also asked the local press office to write a post on its official weibo account that said: "Due to extended overwork, a high level of mental stress and physical exhaustion, Vice-Mayor Wang Lijun is currently receiving vacation-style treatment."
Xinhua said Bo had affairs and maintained improper sexual relationships with a number of women. The internal briefings revealed that a number of Bo's subordinates in Chongqing, including Wang, also had messy affairs with women.
The party had concluded that Bo was not "doing things under the order of the central government" and was acting as a dictator.