Disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai was charged with corruption and abuse of power on Thursday, a move that could be a test for legal reform in the Asian nation.
Bo will likely appear in court to face the charges in the next few weeks. The charges stem from what has been considered the biggest political scandal since 1976 and the downfall of the Gang of Four.
Reuters reports that President Xi Jinping took power in March and will likely look to put the Bo scandal behind him. He has promised to combat corruption during his time in office.
While the trial of Bo Xilai could help Xi and the country move on from the political scandal, it could also sharpen rifts within the country. During his time in office the disgraced politician was considered a well-loved leader by some and a power-hungry politician to others.
The country’s state-run news agency, Xinhua, reported that Bo Xilai will be charged with bribery, embezzlement, and power abuse, crimes it believes he committed. The news agency added that Bo has been informed of his legal rights and has already been interviewed by prosecutors.
The scandal stems from the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood. Bo’s wife, Gu Kailai, and former police chief Wang Lijun, have already been convicted, sentenced, and jailed for the scandal. CNN reports that the indictment paper for Bo Xilai alleges that the politician took advantage of his position in power to seek profits for others.
He also allegedly accepted an “extremely large amount” of money and properties in return for the profits. Bo’s political career began to unravel in February 2012 when Wang walked into the US Consulate and informed officials that Gu Kailai was an accomplice in the murder of Heywood.
Gu and Zhang Xiaojun, a family aide, were arrested in April for Heywood’s death, which was originally blamed on alcohol poisoning. However, prosecutors alleged that the pair drank alcohol and together, but that Gu slipped cyanide to the Briton after he began to vomit.
It is likely that Bo Xilai will be convicted of his crimes.