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June 24, 2017

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Bo Xilai's son drove Porsche in US: report

WASHINGTON -- The son of a disgraced Chinese leader Bo Xilai received three traffic tickets while driving a Porsche in the United States, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

Bo Guagua, son of the ousted Communist Party chief at the center of a widening corruption scandal — had earlier this week sought to downplay his allegedly lavish lifestyle as a student at Harvard University.

The 24-year-old notably denied reports that he drove a Ferrari.

But the Journal, citing police records, said he was driving a black Porsche when he was cited for allegedly running stop signs in December 2010 and May 2011 — once at 2:20 a.m. — and for speeding in February 2011.

The newspaper identified the car as a 2011 Porsche Panamera registered to someone at his address in Cambridge, Massachusetts, saying the car sells for around US$80,000.

Until recently, Bo has lived in an upscale apartment building in Cambridge with a full-time concierge and sun deck, the Journal reported, saying an apartment like his would typically rent for around US$2,950 a month.

The son is not accused of any wrongdoing, but he has come under scrutiny since his father, Bo Xilai, and mother, Gu Kailai, have been implicated in the biggest political scandal to hit China in decades.

His partying and allegedly extravagant lifestyle have triggered criticism in a country where the rich-poor divide is widening. It has also sparked anger over corruption and perceived impunity among leaders and their children.

In a statement this week to The Harvard Crimson — Harvard's university newspaper — the son broke his silence, denying reports he drove a Ferrari and addressing questions over his expensive overseas education.

"My tuition and living expenses at Harrow School, University of Oxford and Harvard University were funded exclusively by two sources — scholarships earned independently, and my mother's generosity from the savings she earned from her years as a successful lawyer and writer," he said.

Gu is currently under investigation in China for the suspected murder of British national Neil Heywood, who reportedly facilitated her son's entry into Britain's exclusive Harrow School.

Bo Xilai, meanwhile, was sacked from his post as boss of Chongqing city last month and then suspended from the Communist Party's hugely powerful, 25-member Politburo for "serious discipline violations" — shorthand in China for graft.

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