Chinese tycoon 'detained' amid political scandal
A Chinese business tycoon with reported links to disgraced Communist party official Bo Xilai has been detained, state media reported, in the latest twist to a major political scandal.
Tuesday 3 April 2012, 04:21PM
Xu Ming, one of the richest people in China, was taken into custody on March 15, said the ENN Weekly, a magazine backed by the official Xinhua news agency, in a report posted on its website.
Xu, whose company Shide Group sponsors a Chinese football club, was detained by a powerful body which investigates corruption within the ranks of the ruling Communist party, the magazine said in a report dated Saturday.
The report, which could not be independently confirmed, gave no details about the allegations against Xu, or his links to Bo, who was ousted as party leader of the southwestern metropolis of Chongqing also on March 15.
Xu was based in China's northeast city of Dalian, where Bo served as mayor and Communist party chief over a decade ago before rising up the ranks.
Hong Kong newspapers have reported that the two men were friends, and that Xu helped fund the education of Bo's son Bo Guagua, who attended Oxford University and the elite British school Harrow.
The Shanghai Daily newspaper said Xu, who is worth 4.4 billion yuan ($700 million) according to Forbes magazine, had lost contact with his company the Shide Group, which had revenues of 12 billion yuan last year.
He had been scheduled to attend the annual Boao Forum, a major gathering of Asian political and business leaders being hosted by China this week, but reportedly failed to make an appearance.
A spokeswoman for the forum declined to comment. Shide officials could not be reached on Tuesday, a public holiday in China.
Bo was removed from his post the same day as Xu was reportedly detained and a day after the country's annual parliamentary session closed with a call from Premier Wen Jiabao for urgent political reform in China.
During his time as Chongqing party secretary, Bo led a high-profile anti-graft campaign that riveted China and drew praise but also fierce criticism.
Scores of mobsters and corrupt officials were jailed or executed in the campaign, but there have since been allegations that due process was ignored and torture used to extract confessions.