BEIJING Xu Ming, a former company ally of disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai, has died in prison of illness, nearby media reported on Sunday. He was 44.
Xu Ming, founder of plastics-to-property conglomerate Dalian Shide Group, died on Dec. 4, according to the news internet sites of Tencent (0700.HK), China’s biggest social network, and Hong Kong’s Phoenix television.
Xu had heart troubles and died at a penitentiary in Wuhan in central Hubei province, the Tencent web site reported, quoting a former firm executive.
The trial of Xu, listed by Forbes as China’s eighth-richest individual in 2005, had been shrouded in secrecy. It was never made public when he was arrested, indicted and convicted. His prison term was unknown.
Xu was scheduled to be released from prison in September 2016, Phoenix tv said.
Xu’s connection with Bo became a focus a few years ago when the politician was probed for corruption.
Bo was ousted as Communist Celebration boss of the southwestern metropolis of Chongqing and from the party’s decision-generating Politburo in 2012. He was sentenced to life in prison in 2013 for corruption and abuse of energy.
For the duration of Bo’s trial in 2013, the court stated Bo was charged with getting about 21.eight million yuan ($ 3.41 million) in bribes from Xu.
During the trial of Bo’s wife, Gu Kailai, for murdering a British businessman, Gu mentioned she had asked Xu to spend for a villa in France.
Xu’s pals and relatives accompanied his coffin to his hometown in the northeastern port city of Dalian on Sunday, according to Phoenix.
Xu’s kin could not be instantly reached for comment.
($ 1 = 6.4008 Chinese yuan renminbi)
(Reporting by Meng Meng and Benjamin Kang Lim Editing by Ryan Woo)