French architect arrested in Cambodia over Bo Xilai scandal


Sacked Chinese politician Bo Xilai, who battled organized crime in Chongqing.

Police in Cambodia have arrested a French architect with alleged business ties to the family of disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai.

Patrick Devillers, 52, reportedly worked closely with Bo and his wife Gu Kailai, who is currently being held in China on suspicion of murdering British businessman Neil Heywood. Bo, previously communist party secretary of China’s south-western city of Chongqing, was removed from his post in March and is currently being investigated for breaching party discipline, according to the BBC.

Phnom Penh police chief Touch Naruth told the Agence France Presse that Devillers had been detained “about two weeks ago… with the cooperation of China.” Beijing – one of the biggest donors to Cambodia – has demanded that Devillers be extradited to China, but Naruth told the news agency “we are considering whether to send him to China or France.”

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According to The New York Times, Devillers was Gu’s business partner when she set up a company in the UK in 2000 to select European architects to carry out projects in China, and when Devillers and his father established a real estate firm in Luxembourg four years later the company was registered at the same Beijing address as Gu’s law firm.

Devillers may ignored recent warnings from friends that he should leave Cambodia because he began living with a Cambodian woman shortly after arriving in Phnom Penh six years ago and has a child with her, The New York Times reported.

Bernard Valero, a French foreign ministry spokesman, told The Guardian Paris was seeking confirmation of why Devillers had been arrested, adding: "We are offering our consular services, are in contact with Cambodian authorities and are following the investigation."