Bo Xilai convicted of corruption, sentenced to life in prison

Disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai was found guilty of corruption, accepting bribes and abuse of power early Sunday and sentenced to life in prison.

The verdit was announced by the Jinan Intermediate People's Court.

More from GlobalPost: China schedules Bo Xilai verdict 

It also ordered that all of Bo's personal assets be seized and denounced his defense, according to a transcript carried on the court's official microblog.

A guilty verdict was largely expected, although Bo's defiant defense during the five-day trial last month surprised some observers, who expected the Communist Party to stage a quick, open-and-shut case.

The relative mildness of the charges suggested that Communist Party insiders agreed not to pursue a death sentence, since such a penalty could have sparked backlash in some areas where he's still popular.

Once a rising political star, Bo's downfall was set in motion by his wife's murder of a British businessman, followed by the defection of his top aide to a US consulate with information about the murder case just ahead of a leadership transition.

More from GlobalPost: China's Bo Xilai writes defiant prison letter

Bo was removed from office in March 2012 and expelled from the party last September.

The 64-year-old was charged with corruption, abuse of power, and taking nearly $4.41 million through bribery and embezzlement — charges he has vehemently denied.

Specifically, he was accused of taking bribes from two companies, Dalian International Development and Dalian Shide Group, between 2000 and 2012.