Friday, October 30, 2020

China indicts former Interpol chief on bribery charges

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Chinese prosecutors indicted former Interpol president Meng Hongwei on Friday on charges of accepting bribes, the latest development in a case that began with his disappearance while on a journey to Beijing.

The announcement from the prosecutor’s office in the northeastern city of Tianjin said Meng had abused his positions, including as a vice minister of public security and head of the maritime police to “illegally accept cash and property in return for performing favors for others.”

“The amounts were especially huge,” the statement said.

Earlier, the ruling Communist Party’s disciplinary committee said an investigation found that Meng abused his power in order to satisfy his family’s “extravagant lifestyle.”

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Meng was formally arrested last month after being expelled from public office and the party. While serving at Interpol, Meng retained his title as a vice minister of public security.

Elected president of the international police organization in 2016, Meng had his four-year term cut short when he disappeared into custody after traveling to China from the body’s headquarters in France at the end of September. Interpol was not informed and was forced to make a formal request to China for information about Meng’s whereabouts.

There are suspicions he had fallen out of political favor with Chinese President Xi Jinping, who has carried out a wide-ranging crackdown on corruption and perceived disloyalty that observers say is calculated to strengthen party control while bringing down potential challengers to his authority.

Meng’s wife has accused Chinese authorities of lying and questioned whether her husband was still alive. Grace Meng has remained in France with their two boys since her husband’s detention.

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