French architect Patrick Henri Devillers was a business partner of Gu Kailai, the wife of former high-flying Chinese politician Bo Xilai. Devillers met the Gu when her husband was a Communist Party official in charge of the industrial port town of Dalian in far northeastern China. Devillers and Gu were co-directors of Adad Limited, a company registered in the United Kingdom, but Devillers also helped Gu set up a secret offshore company that was used to purchase a luxury villa in the south of France. Devillers was detained in June 2012 at his home in Cambodia at Beijing's request and spent several weeks in custody in China before being released. His testimony was used in the 2013 corruption trial of Bo Xilai.
In the data
In September 2000, Devillers helped Gu Kailai, the wife of a high-ranking Chinese Communist Party official, incorporate Russell Properties S.A. in the British Virgin Islands. Court records show that Devillers held shares in the company on behalf of Gu and that the offshore company was used to secretly purchase a villa in the south of France. The $3.2 million used to purchase the villa was a bribe from a Chinese businessman for whom Gu’s husband had helped secure several business deals. Gu testified at her husband’s corruption trial that she wanted to keep the property secret in order to avoid tax but also because owning a luxury overseas property could have threatened her husband’s career. Her husband, Bo Xilai, was a rising political star and had been expected to ascend to the all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee in 2013. But in November 2011, Gu poisoned and killed an English acquaintance, sparking an investigation that ended with both her and her husband imprisoned for life. Before the murder, Russell Properties had been held by proxies in the offshore jurisdiction of Jersey. After the murder, Devillers became the sole director and shareholder of the company.
Devillers did not respond to requests for comments.
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