''Bo embezzlement charge linked to Jiang Zemin holiday home''
Beijing, Sep 7 (PTI) The USD three million that fallen Communist Party leader Bo Xilai was accused of embezzling was meant to pay for a holiday home in northeastern China''s Dalian city for former Chinese president Jiang Zemin, according to a media report today.
"The five million yuan that Bo Xilai is accused of embezzling was money from the Communist Party headquarters to pay for a villa for then president Jiang Zemin," Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post quoted sources with knowledge of the deal as saying.
Bo''s handling of the payment while serving as Liaoning governor in 2002 was the sole allegation of embezzlement detailed at his trial in the Jinan Intermediate People''s court last month.
Publicly released court transcripts said only that the amount came from a higher authority to pay for a classified public project in Dalian, where Bo was previously mayor and party boss.
But two sources with close ties to elite Dalian politics told the Post that the General Office of the party''s Central Committee sent the money to the seaport city upon its completion of a holiday home for Jiang, who was then nearing retirement as president and party chief.
The money was later allegedly funnelled to Bo''s wife Gu Kailai via a law firm with Bo''s approval, court papers said.
Jiang visited Dalian in 1999 to mark the 100th anniversary of the modern commercial port. He stayed for about 10 days - an unusually long period for a presidential visit.
"Jiang expressed his love of the port city during his visit," one of the sources said. "Bo wanted to butter him up to get promoted by taking the opportunity to build the villa."
Though retired in 2002, Jiang continued to be most influential figure in the party. Much of the current leadership under President Xi Jinping is believed to owe allegiance to him.
Aside from embezzlement, Bo is awaiting judgment on charges of bribery and abuse of power.
The former Politburo member''s five-day trial last month was the culmination of the party''s biggest scandal in decades.
The second source confirmed the story and said the money was allocated to Dalian with the consent of General You Xigui, Jiang''s chief bodyguard and former director of the Central Security Bureau.
Local governments often cover the expenses of visits by top leaders and claim reimbursement from the central government. It is an open secret that some also build or renovate facilities for retired state leaders.
Sources who either attended or were briefed on the proceedings at Bo''s trial said prosecutors provided no additional details about the project, other than those included in the publicly released transcript.
In court, Bo''s wife Gu said her husband told her to meet Dalian''s urban and rural planning director Wang Zhenggang to exchange a "large sum of money".