U.K. Foreign Secretary Asked to Clarify Heywood’s Profession

U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague was asked by lawmakers to provide more information about the relationship between Neil Heywood, the British businessman who was killed in China, and the government.

Richard Ottaway, the chairman of the Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, asked Hague in a letter today if Heywood supplied “the British Consulate or Embassy with information, either on a formal or informal basis?”

The U.K. has asked China to investigate the circumstances of the death, after originally being told Heywood died from alcohol poisoning. Heywood’s death has touched off the biggest political upheaval in China since the 1989 Tiananmen Square student protests and comes ahead of a once-a-decade Communist Party leadership transition later this year.

The Foreign & Commonwealth office said in a statement today that Heywood wasn’t an employee of the British government. Last week the FCO said in an e-mail that it wasn’t aware of Heywood’s business interests in China and that it had never dealt with him.

Heywood, 41, died in Chongqing on Nov. 14. Chinese authorities said April 10 that Gu Kailai, the wife of former Chongqing Communist Party Secretary Bo Xilai, is suspected of murdering Heywood. Gu, along with her son, Bo Guagua, had a “conflict over economic interests” with Heywood, the official Xinhua News Agency reported the same day.

Prime Minister David Cameron this week called on China to ensure that its probe into the death of Heywood uncovers the truth.

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