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Bo Xilai's wife, Gu Kailai, suspected in murder, China says

Wife of Bo Xilai, ousted Chinese Communist Party boss, has been detained in the suspected murder of British businessman Neil Heywood, according to state media.

bo xilai wife murder suspect 2012 04 10Enlarge
Sacked Chinese politician Bo Xilai, who battled organized crime in Chongqing. His wife Gu Kailai is suspected in the murder of British national Neil Heywood, the state-run Xinhua news agency said April 10, 2012. (Wikimedia commons)

Gu Kailai, the wife of disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai, has been detained in the suspected murder of a British businessman, Chinese state media reported late Tuesday.

Xinhua said police will reinvestigate the case of Neil Heywood, found dead in Chongqing last November.

Heywood, who was friends with Bo, died because of over-consumption of alcohol according to his death certificate, although he was reportedly cremated without an autopsy. While his family and the British embassy initially accepted the police findings, new doubts have been raised, the BBC reported.

Gu has been "transferred to judicial authorities on suspected crime of intentional homicide," the Xinhua report said. Also suspected in the murder is Bo's aide, Zhang Xiaojun.

Xinhua said that Gu had fallen out with Heywood "over economic interests, which had been intensified."

More from GlobalPost: China's Bo Xilai sacked as Communist Party leader in Chongqing

Xinhua also announced Tuesday that Bo, the former Chongqing party boss, has been suspended from the Central Committee and Politburo, the 25-member body that runs China. He is suspected of "serious discipline violations," the report said.

Bo, who was sacked last month from his regional Chongqing role and put under house arrest, will now be formally investigated, sources told The New York Times.

"The decision to banish Bo... effectively ends the career of China's brashest and most controversial politician, whose downfall has kindled ideological tension and sparked opposition from leftist sympathizers who insist he is the victim of a plot," Reuters reported.

More from GlobalPost: China shuts down websites, arrests six, amid coup rumors

Bo's shock dismissal follows a scandal last month in which Bo’s former chief of police Wang Lijun spent a day at a United States consulate.

The New York Times said China's Communist Party leaders are moving quickly to curb political damage from the scandal, ahead of a once-a-decade leadership change at the 18th Party Congress later this year.

Bo had been widely expected to be promoted to China’s most powerful body, the Politburo Standing Committee.

He was replaced in Chongqing by Zhang Dejiang, a North Korean-trained economist and Vice-Premier.

More from GlobalPost: Chinese police chief attempts US asylum after taking leave: reports

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/china/120410/bo-xilai-communist-party-wife-gu-kailai-suspected-neil-heywood-murder