A Beijing court has recommended that the death sentence for the wife of fallen Politburo member Bo Xilai be commuted to life in prison, winding down one of the biggest scandals to rock China's political elite in recent years.

Gu Kailai has been serving a suspended death sentence since 2012 after being convicted of the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood. In a statement dated Nov. 16 but released online Monday, a Beijing high court said Gu has shown good behavior during prison labor and during "thought, cultural and technical study."

A reduced sentence for the 56-year-old Gu has been widely expected.

Her husband, once considered a contender for the top post in China's ruling Communist Party, is serving a life term for corruption and abuse of power.