Selebi, an ally of Mbeki, has denied any wrongdoing.
 
'Serious offence'
 
In a statement, Interpol said the allegations against him had nothing to do with the organisation or with Selebi's position as its head.
 
"Interpol believes ... the proper manner is for charges to be brought promptly before a court of law and not through media leaks and speculation"

Ronald Noble, Interpol's secretary-general
Ronald Noble, Interpol's secretary-general, said that in his experience, Selebi "has always conducted himself and acted in a way to enhance global security and police co-operation worldwide".
 
Noble said corruption was one of the most serious offences a police official could be accused of.
 
"Interpol believes that any such allegations should be prosecuted thoroughly, and the proper manner is for charges to be brought promptly before a court of law and not through media leaks and speculation."
 
A copy of Selebi's indictment, made available to the media by prosecutors, covers a range of charges that include receiving payments from his friend Glenn Agliotti, a convicted drug smuggler accused of playing a role in the 2005 murder of a South African mining magnate.
 
The indictment said that between 2000 and 2005, Selebi received at least 1.2 million rand ($175,500) from Agliotti and his associates, including 30,000 rand from Agliotti a day or two after magnate Brett Kebble was killed.
 
The period in question overlaps with his four-year tenure at Interpol, where he became president in 2004.
 
The president is not in charge of Interpol's day-to-day running, but presides over meetings of the assembly and executive committee and plays a major role in setting direction and strategy.
 
Political tensions
 
The decision to charge Selebi comes against the background of political tension in South Africa.
 
Jacob Zuma, the new leader of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), will be tried for corruption later this year.
 
Zuma was charged with corruption, fraud, money laundering and racketeering shortly after he won the party leadership from Mbeki last month.
 
This fuelled allegations that the charges had been used as a political weapon.