Poisoned Brit Dished China Intel to MI6

Neil Heywood relayed information about Bo Xilai and his family
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 6, 2012 7:13 AM CST
Poisoned Brit Dished China Intel to MI6
In this April 12, 2011 file photo, Neil Heywood, a British business consultant, smiles at an art gallery in Beijing.   (AP Photo/China.org.cn, File)

(Newser) – Neil Heywood, the businessman who Bo Xilai's wife was convicted of poisoning, fancied himself a spy—complete with 007 on his license plate and a job working for a dealer of the James Bond-favored Aston Martin. In reality, he actually had spy connections, a Wall Street Journal investigation finds. It reveals that Heywood dished intel on the Bo family to MI6 in the year leading up to his murder. He apparently met an MI6 officer in 2009 and, after learning the person's true identity, acted as an unpaid informant.

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The revelation has implications for both the British and Chinese, in the Journal's view. It reframes the British government's reaction to his death: Officials didn't demand an autopsy or intervene in the quick cremation of his body, and didn't request that China investigate the death (initially blamed on "excessive alcohol consumption") until three months had passed. And, if true, Chinese authorities would be "guilty" of a massive security breach should they have been unaware that MI6 had a source so close to a top party leader. Click for more on the Journal's investigation, which also looks at Heywood's deteriorating relationship with the Bo family. (Read more Neil Heywood stories.)

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