Bo Xilai trial: Bo denies bribery charge

Disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai stands trial inside the court in Jinan, Shandong province on Aug 22, 2013, in this photo released by Jinan Intermediate People's Court. The sensational trial with him disputing a bribery charge, one of three crim
Disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai stands trial inside the court in Jinan, Shandong province on Aug 22, 2013, in this photo released by Jinan Intermediate People's Court. The sensational trial with him disputing a bribery charge, one of three criminal offences he is accused of in court on Thursday morning. -- PHOTO: REUTERS 

The sensational trial of former Chongqing boss Bo Xilai has taken a twist, with him disputing a bribery charge, one of three criminal offences he is accused of in court on Thursday morning.

The prosecution is accusing Bo - on his own or at times via his wife Gu Kailai and son Guagua - of taking bribes totalling 21.8 million yuan (S$4.5 million) from Dalian Shide group boss Xu Ming and Hong Kong-based export firm Dalian International Development general manager Tang Xiaolin. 

But Bo has denied having taken the bribes on three occasions from Tang, according to a transcript posted on the Twitter-like Sina Weibo account of the Jinan Intermediate People's Court.

Bo said he had wrongly confessed to taking bribes from Tang during interrogations because he was not in a clear state of mind then.

"The accused is not telling the truth," responded the prosecutors, adding that it would be presenting more evidence in court to show that Bo indeed took money from Tang, who is being dealt with separately.

Observers are closely watching Bo's decision to challenge the charges against him, as it could well determine the severity of the punishment he would receive.

kianbeng@sph.com.sg