The verdict was out in China as another personality close to Bo Xilai, once touted as one of the country's rising politician, was sentenced to prison terms for covering up the crime trail left behind by Gu Kailai, Mr Bo's wife.
The Intermediate People's Court in Chengdu, a southwest Chinese city in Sichuan Province, found Wang Lijun guilty of complicity in the murder of British national Neil Heywood, poisoned November 2011 in Chongqing, official Chinese news agency reported on Monday.
Chongqing is the same Chinese mega city ruled by Mr Bo until March this year and where Mr Wang was once regarded as the heir-apparent to the populist city chief executive, his long-time boss until their falling out in early 2012.
The court, Xinhua said, has also adjudged that Mr Wang abused his power that led to corruption and tried defecting to the U.S. government. He will serve a jail term of around 15 years.
The wife of his former boss, Ms Gu, has earlier admitted that she killed Mr Heywood and was given a suspended death sentence, likely keeping her imprisoned for life unless she gets a parole.
Political analysts, Reuters reported on Monday, said Mr Wang escaped harsher penalties because his court testimonies unmasked the truth behind the death last year of Mr Heywood, who originally was thought to have died of heart failure.
"As for the crimes that the prosecution has alleged, I understand them, I admit them and I am repentant for them," Xinhua reported the former Chongqing police chief as saying last week while addressing the court.
For his cooperation, Mr Wang won the leniency of the court, analysts said.
"Wang Lijun exposed clues of major law-breaking and crimes by others . . . He rendered a major contribution, and according to the law he can receive a lighter sentence," the Monday court decision was reported by Xinhua as saying.
His earlier actions triggered the revelation of Ms Gu's deeds and the subsequent events that led to the demise of Mr Bo's political career.
Xinhua said Mr Wang came forward in February 2012 and informed Mr Bo of the real circumstances surrounding Mr Heywood's death, hoping he would win the sympathy of his former boss.
He had protected Ms Gu before but apparently had a change of heart upon suspecting that his boss' wife was planning to pin all the blame on him.
But instead of siding with Mr Wang, Mr Bo slapped him, Xinhua recounted in a report last week, and booted him out from his post, forcing the former to seek refuge at the U.S. consulate office in Chengdu.
In the ensuing events, Mr Wang and Ms Gu were taken into custody while Mr Bo was eased out as Chongqing party boss and largely disappeared from public view.
He will likely reappear soon, Reuters said, citing earlier observations by analysts that Mr Wang's almost certain conviction will open the door for Mr Bo's prosecution.
But the same analysts noted too that Mr Bo will only get rudimental punishment, owing to his stature and the lingering support he enjoys from members of China's Politburo.
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