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Gary Younge
Murky divorce details put Bush's brother in spotlight

But while United States president George Bush and his brother Jeb, the Florida governor, have made it through some tough questioning, the president's younger brother, Neil, may not be so lucky.

In a court deposition, taken in March and released this week, Neil claims that attractive women came to his hotel door looking for sex while he was on business trips in Hong Kong in Thailand. And as a big-hearted Texan Neil, the third of five Bush children, merely did as he was asked.

"You have to admit it's pretty remarkable for a man to go to a hotel room door and open it and have sex with her," said his ex-wife's lawyer, Marshall Davis Brown. "It was very unusual," replied Mr Bush. He insists he didn't know them, did not see them afterwards and didn't pay them. "Were they prostitutes?" he was asked. "I don't know," he said.

Mr Bush, 48, divorced his wife, Sharon, in April after 23 years of marriage. The split came after a bitter dispute with another couple, Maria and Robert Andrews, whom they met several years earlier.

Sharon, who is the subject of a $850,000 (£496,000) defamation suit after she alleged that Mr Bush was the father of the Andrews' two-year-old son, has called on Neil and Mr Andrews to take paternity tests.

Mr Bush and Maria Andrews are now a couple.

On Friday a Texas judge ordered Sharon Bush to allow one of their daughters, Ashley, 14, to accompany Neil and Maria to France for Thanksgiving. "They don't even celebrate Thanksgiving in France," said a friend of Sharon's.

The deposition also shed light on Mr Bush's business dealings and ability to land fat contracts with little expertise.

The hotel trysts took place while Mr Bush was working as a consultant for Grace Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation, which is backed by the son of former Chinese leader, Jiang Zemin, for which he was paid $2m in stock options over five years.

It is not the first time that he has been involved in corporate controversy. In the late 1980's he was director of Denver-based Silverado Savings & Loan, which collapsed at a cost to taxpayers of $1bn. At the time he denied any wrongdoing but was sanctioned by the federal government for his part in the failure.

During the deposition Mr Brown asked: "Now, you have absolutely no education background in semiconductors, do you Mr Bush?"

"That's correct," said Mr Bush.

Mr Brown also questioned him about work for Crest Investment Corporation, where he was paid $5,000 a month for work that totalled no more than four hours a week. Bush said he provided Crest with "miscellaneous consulting services". "Such as?" asked Brown.

"Answering phone calls when the other co-chairman called and asked for advice," said Mr Bush.

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