“Murky industrial intelligence world of Briton found dead in China hotel room” | The Times
I have been following the fate of Bo Xilai, the recently purged regional party chief in Chongqing, China. Bo was destined to become one of the 9 leaders at this years decennial (10 year) leadership change in China. And what does this have to do with banking you might well ask.
Fast forward to March 28th, 2012 and one Neil Heywood, who attended Harrow School, went to Warwick University in 1989 and was fascinated by Chinese culture, and moved on to Beijing to study the language.
Heywood “met a mysterious death in a Chinese hotel room had been drawn into the murky world of industrial intelligence-gathering before he died, The Times has learnt”.
This story just gets weirder.
Mr Heywood benefited from his relationship with Mr Bo and was seen by Western companies as someone with rare access to the communist elite. Temporary employers of Mr Heywood include hedge funds, private equity groups, accountancy firms and lawyers, which used his expertise to understand deals or business partners.
Mr Heywood is known to have been in the southwestern city of Chongqing last June, when Mr Bo hosted celebrations as Party Secretary. Guests at one event included Henry Kissinger and Lord Powell of Bayswater, the president of the China-Britain Business Council. A day later, Mr Bo entertained Peter Mandelson at a banquet in the city.
The majority of Mr Heywood’s income appears to have come from due diligence research, checking the veracity of Chinese company statements, accounts and whether assets appearing on the books were genuine.
And this is where the financial services aspect creeps in:
Sources who engaged Mr Heywood’s services said that he was a specialist at working in “highly sensitive research situations”, including for accountancy firms that became concerned last year that their auditing work was exposing them to huge reputational risk.