Neil Heywood, 41, who was a consultant from Kensington, was declared dead from alcohol poisoning.

However, his friends, who knew he was in good health, dispute the cause.

Their suspicions were fuelled when the body of the Harrow-educated consultant, which was found in the hotel in the central city of Chongqing, it was quickly cremated by Chinese authorities without an autopsy.

There have also been conflicting reports from the Mandarin-speaking businessman’s London-based mother Ann, and sister

Leonie, who say Heywood, who has a Chinese wife and two children, died of a heart attack.

A fluent Mandarin speaker, Heywood had lived in China for more than 10 years

Now details of his links to the Communist party have come to light and intrigue surrounding his death grows.

Heywood had ties to Bo Xilai, 62, who was dismissed as Chongqing’s Communist Party chief after the city’s police chief Wang Lijun tried to defect at a US embassy in Chengdu in February.

Bo and Wang gained notoriety for their crusade to weed out white-collar corruption and collusion with gangsters in the Chongqing city-municipality.

However, Wang fled to the US consulate in Chengdu in February when Bo turned on him, though he was denied asylum.

Today it emerged that Heywood worked for Hakluyt & Co a “British strategic intelligence firm” with its headquarters in Mayfair, but with operations around the globe including China.

A spokesman for Hakluyt said Heywood had provided services on a case-by-case basis, but did not specify the nature of his work.

“Neil had a long history of advising Western companies on China and we were among those who sought his advice. We are greatly saddened by his death,” he told the Wall Street Journal.