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France - Cambodia - China

French architect, Bo Xilai associate to remain in Cambodia

AFP/Tang Chhin Sothy
3 min

Cambodia will not hand over a French architect with links to disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai to Beijing until the case had been fully investigated, Foreign Minister Hor Namhong said Thursday. Bo’s wife Gu Kailai, said to be close to Patrick Devillers, has confessed to the murder of British businessman, Neil Heywood, according to a Japanese newspaper.

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"We are awaiting further investigation," Hor Namhong told reporters late on. "The decision has been made. We have decided to keep him here … We won't send him to either France or China.”

Devillers’ arrest on 13 June Thursday has sparked a diplomatic tug-of-war between Beijing, which has asked for his extradition without stating what crimes he is accused of, and Paris, which has opposed the move while no evidence is presented.

France is Cambodia’s former colonial ruler, while China has massive investments there and is the country’s closest political and economic ally.

But government spokesperson Khieu Kanarith on Friday denied that it is “in the hot seat”.

China’s extradition treaty with Cambodia allows a suspect to be detained for up to 60 days.

Eyewitnesses say that two “Europeans” were present at Devillers’ arrest.

He and Gu gave the same address when they created a company registered in the southern English town of Bournemouth in 2000.

Devillers set an investment company in Luxembourg in 2006 which gave as its address a company linked to Gu, the Ang Dao Law Firm.

Gu, who is under investigation in China over the death of British businessman Neil Heywood, has admitted to murdering the British businessman, according to the Japanese daily Asahi Shimbun.

She told investigators she killed Heywood to stop him revealing the illegal transfer of billions of dollars abroad that he allegedly helped organise for her, sources alleged to have seen a confidential report told the paper.

She was under investigation for the remittances when Heywood was discovered dead in a Chongqing hotel in November.

The city authorities, then under the effective control of Bo Xilai, initially attributed Heywood’s death to a drinking binge and quickly cremated his body.

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