Former regional leader Bo Xilai (front centre) standing trial for the third day at Jinan Intermediate People’s Court yesterday.
BEIJING: Fallen Chinese politician Bo Xilai admitted “some responsibility” yesterday for embezzled public funds and making mistakes in connection with his wife’s murder of British businessman, his first confessions in a dramatic trial.
Bo denies embezzling five million yuan ($800,000) intended for a local government construction project, but said he “should take some responsibility” for the money ending up in his wife Gu Kailai’s bank account and for failing to investigate.
“I feel ashamed. I was too careless, because these are state funds,” he said according to transcripts that the Intermediate People’s Court in Jinan, eastern China, is providing on its account on Sina Weibo, a Twitter equivalent.
The courtroom scenes come after a lurid scandal triggered by the death of British businessman Neil Heywood -- for which Bo’s wife Gu was convicted of murder -- that rocked the ruling Communist Party.
He also admitted mistakes relating to the investigation into Heywood’s killing, although he denied charges of abuse of power.
A picture showed him staring at Wang Lijun, his police chief and right-hand man in Chongqing, the megacity he headed, as Wang testified in court against him.
Bo admitted slapping Wang and sacking him as police chief after he told him Gu was responsible for Heywood’s murder. Days later Wang fled to a US consulate to seek asylum, blowing the scandal wide open, and Bo said his errors had “tarnished the reputation of the Party and the country”.
“I failed to handle this incident at a critical point in a calm way and I made a serious misjudgement,” he said. “I feel ashamed for this. “I never meant to... protect Gu. I didn’t mean to force Wang Lijun away.”
The former policeman said in court Gu told him she had killed Heywood the day before his body was discovered, and that the politician drew blood when he struck him -- adding that he believed Bo ousted him to try to save his wife.