Ousted Chinese politician Bo Xilai's son has commented publicly for the first time since his parents came under investigation, seeking to refute rumours about his overseas education and perceived extravagant lifestyle but declining to comment on the probe.
In a statement published on Tuesday by the student newspaper at Harvard University, Bo Guagua said he felt compelled to provide an account of the facts in response to speculation about his private life and family.
Bo's mother, Gu Kailai, has been detained on suspicion of murdering British businessman Neil Heywood, who had close ties to the Bo family for years.
His father, Bo Xilai, one of China's most charismatic and ambitious politicians, has been stripped of all his roles within the top echelons of the Chinese Communist Party.
Bo Xilai had been the party chief of Chongqing, a booming south-western Chinese region and his fall marked one of the most serious political upheavals in China for decades.
I am deeply concerned about the events surrounding my family, but I have no comments to make regarding the ongoing investigation, Bo said in a statement issued through the Harvard Crimson (http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2012/4/24/bo-guagua-statement-to-the-crimson/).
Bo Guagua is studying at Harvard's Kennedy School after graduating from Oxford University. He is no longer at his Harvard apartment and has not divulged his current location.
Benjamin Samuels, President of the Harvard Crimson, said he is very confident the Bo statement is legitimate. Julie Zauzmer, its managing editor who posted the story to the site, also vouched for the statement, which the paper said it received from Bo's university and personal email accounts.
Bo Guagua has been the subject of intense media scrutiny over his purported extravagant lifestyle as a student, including a love for luxury cars.
In the statement, he wrote: I have never driven a Ferrari.
He also sought to dampen speculation about financial improprieties over his costly overseas tuition, explaining the fees had been covered by scholarships earned independently, and my mother's generosity from the savings she earned from her years as a successful lawyer and writer.
(Reporting by James Pomfret in BEIJING and Ros Krasny in BOSTON; Editing by Ken Wills and Paul Tait)