Beijing: In a candid confession, fallen Chinese leader Bo Xilai has told a court that he had been unfaithful to his wife Gu Kailai, who has testified against him in the ongoing trial, but still had "feelings for her".
Bo, sacked as the head of the Chongqing city last year following allegations of bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power against him, was facing trial in the Jinan Intermediate People`s Court in eastern China.
The 64-year-old leader`s wife Gu, who has been serving a suspended death sentence for murdering British businessman Neil Heywood, has become key witness for prosecutors in the bribery and embezzlement case against the disgraced leader.
"I still have feelings for Gu Kailai. She`s a relatively fragile woman," Bo told the court.
Ironically for Bo, 54-year-old Gu`s testimony against him in the cases made it difficult for him to refute the charges as she already acknowledged receiving money besides a luxury villa bought in France.
One of the charges against Bo was that he had "maintained improper sexual relationships", among other accusations. But details of his extramarital affair had not been included in the three charges brought against him.
Yesterday, Bo voluntarily told the court about his infidelity when he tried to discredit Gu`s testimony that he knowingly let her accept five million yuan to improve the family`s finances when she and their son Bo Guagua were living abroad.
"Gu Kailai is a woman with high self-esteem," Bo was quoted as saying by the Hong Kong based South China Morning Post.
"She would never complain about financial issues in front of me. She arranged the whole thing, to send Guagua to study at middle school in the UK, and took off after informing me," he said.
"She did this because I had an affair before and she was furious. She took Guagua away, to a large extent, to get back at me," he said without disclosing details of his affair.
Bo argued Gu`s testimony was untrue as the family had no financial difficulties. Gu was a lawyer and her law firm was the most profitable in the country and she had opened five offices in Beijing, he said.
Gu had lied about "having to shut down the law firm" as it was her suggestion in the first place, he said.
Bo said he remembered vividly the moment she broke the news to him, and how he felt she was being considerate in avoiding talk of conflicts of interest.
"It was something she did for me and was very proud of," Bo told the court.
Despite having called Gu`s testimony unreliable and arguing that she had turned against him in order to receive a more lenient sentence, Bo contradicted himself by saying he would not "make such assumptions" as they were a couple and said he would leave it for the judge to decide.
"She would be sentenced to death if financial problems were included as well. She stands to get out of prison sooner by reporting an offence (to the prosecutors)."
"Who else could she report on? All allegations against me come from Gu Kailai," he said.
Pressed by the head judge to clarify his stance that Gu`s testimony was trustworthy, Bo said he left it for the court to decide.
The tension between one of China`s most prominent and glamorous couples had come to light during the trial over the last three days, with Bo calling his wife "insane", describing her testimony as "comical and ridiculous" and Bo`s lawyers saying she was a person "who has a habit of lying often".
Bo also revealed that they had spent far more time apart than together, with Gu staying overseas with their son since 1999, the report said.