BEIJING (AP) — Disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai was indicted Thursday on charges of corruption, accepting bribes and abuse of power, state media reported, moving China’s biggest political scandal in years toward closure.
The indictment paves the way for a trial, more than a year after Bo dropped from sight in one of China’s biggest-ever political scandals.
The Xinhua News Agency said the indictment was handed over Thursday by prosecutors in the eastern city of Jinan to the city’s intermediate court. That indicates the trial will take place in the city soon, although the report did not say when.
Bo, the former party boss of the southwestern megacity of Chongqing, was expelled from the party in September and accused of massive corruption, illicit sexual affairs and abetting the cover-up of a murder by his wife.
Bo’s ouster in the spring of last year and the investigation into his family presented the Communist Party leadership with its ugliest public scandal in nearly two decades. It exposed the bare-knuckled infighting that the secretive leadership prefers to hide and affirmed an already skeptical public’s dim view about corrupt dealings in the party.
The allegations leveled against Bo in September dated back more than a decade, including abuse of power, bribe taking and improper relations with several women — banned by the party because they are considered an inducement to corruption.
Bo was also accused of involvement in the cover-up of his wife’s murder of a British businessman, which was instrumental in triggering his downfall.
One of China’s most ambitious and best-known politicians, Bo was brought down last year after a trusted aide fled to a U.S. consulate disclosing the murder.
Bo was dismissed as party chief of Chongqing; his wife, Gu Kailai, was given a suspended death sentence after confessing to the murder; and the aide, Chongqing police chief Wang Lijun, received a 15-year prison term for initially covering up the murder and other misdeeds.