Disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai's wife and a helper working in their home have been charged with poisoning a British businessman to death, a case that triggered the downfall of the ruling Communist Party of China's powerful leader and rocked the country's politics.
Bo's wife Bogu Kailai and the couple's domestic help Zhang Xiaojun were 'recently' charged by the Hefei Municipal Procuratorate in eastern Anhui province with intentional homicide over the murder of British citizen Neil Heywood, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Thursday.
The municipal prosecuting body had filed the charges with the Hefei Municipal Intermediate People's Court. Bogu and her son, surnamed Bo, had conflicts with Heywood over economic interests, according to investigators.
They claimed that Bogu, fearing about her son's safety, poisoned Heywood to death with the help of Zhang. The Hefei Intermediate People's Court has received the case and will hold a trial on a day to be decided, Xinhua said.
Heywood was found dead in a hotel in Chongqing on 15 November, 2011. His death triggered Bo's downfall in a scandal that has rocked Chinese politics.
Local officials initially said Heywood died of excessive drinking, but the government announced in April it was probing Bo's wife in connection with the case.
Bo, the former top leader of the southwestern Chongqing city, was sacked in March and is under investigation for allegedly flouting the CPC's rules. He had been widely expected to be promoted during China's once-in-a-decade leadership change later this year.
His downfall was triggered when his police chief, Wang Lijun, fled to the US consulate, reportedly to seek asylum after a row with Bo over Heywood's death probe.