Washington: Friends of Neil Heywood, the British businessman, who died in a Chongqing hotel in China by disgraced politician Bo Xilai’s wife Gu Kailai, have questioned Chinese prosecutors' account of his death.
Friends of Heywood have specifically questioned the claim of prosecutors that he had threatened the safety of Bo Guagua, the son of Gu and Bo, and at one point confined him at home in Britain, after they became embroiled in a business dispute.
“I find the idea of Neil threatening the safety of Bo Guagua to be extraordinary,” the Wall Street Journal quoted one close friend of Heywood, as saying.
"He was a good and loyal friend to Guagua over the years, and was a mentor to him while he was studying in Britain. Whatever difference on business matters there might have been, he remained throughout as a kind uncle figure,” he added.
Guagua, who is believed to be in the US after graduating from Harvard University in May, has declined to comment on the trial and repeatedly refrained from answering questions about his links to Heywood, the paper said.
Heywood’s friends also disputed key parts of the chronology that was presented by prosecutors during last week's trial of Bo's wife, Gu Kailai, and a family aide for the murder of Heywood in November, the paper added.
Gu and the family aide, who has been co-accused, didn't contest the charges at the trial, whose verdict is due to announce at a later date.
Heywood's family has also declined to comment on the whole matter.
First Published: Thursday, August 16, 2012, 12:45