France: Architect Who Flew to China for Questioning is OK

Posted July 24th, 2012 at 2:00 pm (UTC-5)
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France says a French architect who flew to China for questioning in connection with a major political scandal is in regular contact with French authorities.

A spokesman for the French embassy in Beijing told VOA two diplomats met with Patrick Devillers last week after he arrived in China from Cambodia, where police had detained him at Beijing's request. The spokesman said Devillers was in “good shape” but did not disclose his whereabouts.

Cambodian authorities detained Devillers on June 13 but did not charge him with any crime. They took him to Phnom Penh's airport on July 18 for a flight to China, saying he boarded the plane of his own free will.

The French embassy official said Devillers told French diplomats in Cambodia that he made an agreement with the Chinese government to cooperate in an investigation. Western news media say Chinese authorities want to question the Frenchman about his relationship with the wife of disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai.

Bo's wife, Gu Kailai, is under investigation for the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood. News reports say the French architect helped Bo redevelop the northeastern Chinese city of Dalian while the Chinese official was mayor in the early 1990s.

Bo was a rising star in the Chinese Communist Party, serving as party chief of the city of Chongqing until authorities removed him from the post in March due to undisclosed transgressions. His scandal erupted the previous month when a longtime aide fled to a U.S. consulate and made accusations of Gu's involvement in the Heywood murder.

(VOA Khmer Service's Heng Reaksmey contributed to this report)