Beijing: A top Chinese leader said on Thursday there`s no evidence the British businessman whose murder became part of a major political scandal was a spy.
Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang, who was put in charge of the mega-city of Chongqing in the scandal`s wake, also told reporters that he had no information about when his predecessor, the now purged leader Bo Xilai, would go on trial.
Zhang was speaking at a meeting of Chongqing delegates to the Communist Party congress that opened today.
Bo has been accused of violations ranging from corruption to involvement in covering up his wife`s murder of Briton Neil Heywood in a dispute.
The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week that Heywood was an informant for British intelligence. Zhang said in response to a reporter`s question that to date, he had not seen evidence that Heywood was a spy.
As the most powerful official in Chongqing, Bo had been considered a candidate for a seat on the party`s all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee, and his toppling exposed sharp infighting in the party`s uppermost ranks.
The scandal unfolded in early February after Bo`s then top aide Wang Lijun fled to the US consulate in Chengdu, where he told the Americans his concerns about Heywood`s death.
That prompted the British Embassy to request a new investigation, which uncovered that Heywood had been murdered. Bo`s wife was given a suspended death sentence for the murder in August.