China to prosecute former Interpol chief Meng Hongwei for ‘abusing power’, ‘lavish’ spending

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China will prosecute former Interpol chief Meng Hongwei for corruption after an investigation found he spent “lavish” amounts of state funds, abused his power and refused to follow Communist Party decisions, the country’s anti-corruption watchdog said on Wednesday.

Interpol, the global police coordination agency based in France, said Mr Meng had resigned as its president last October, days after his wife reported him missing during a trip back to his home country.

The Communist Party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said Mr Meng was suspected of taking bribes and causing serious harm to the party’s image and state’s interests, adding he should be severely dealt with.

The watchdog issued its statement after Chinese President Xi Jinping returned from a state visit to France, where President Emmanuel Macron raised the issue of human rights in China and certain specific cases, a French presidency official said.

The anti-corruption body said Mr Meng had “refused to enact decisions of the party centre” and abused his power for private gain.

He “wantonly and lavishly spent state funds to satisfy his family’s luxurious lifestyle”, it said.

Mr Meng also used his position to help his wife get a job and illegally took a “huge amount of possessions” from other people in exchange for help with promotions and job moves and “company operations”, the statement said, without giving details.

Mr Meng has been expelled from the party and his case been handed to legal authorities for prosecution, the statement said.

It has not been possible to reach Mr Meng for comment since he was detained, and it was unclear if he has been allowed a lawyer.

Mr Meng’s wife, Grace Meng, told French television on Sunday she had written to Mr Macron ahead of Mr Xi’s trip seeking his help protecting their “fundamental human rights”.

Her lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment on the anti-corruption body’s allegations.

France’s interior and justice ministries did not respond to a request for comment.

Mr Meng is certain to be found guilty when his case eventually comes to trial as the courts are controlled by the party and will not challenge its accusations.

Mr Meng, who was also a deputy Chinese public security minister, became president of Interpol in late 2016 as China widened its bid to secure leadership posts in international organisations.

His appointment prompted concern at the time from rights groups that Beijing might try to leverage his position to pursue dissidents abroad.

Under Mr Xi, China has pursued a sweeping crackdown on official corruption.

Reuters

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