China court sentences ex-Interpol chief to over 13 years

Court says Meng had 'truthfully confessed to all the criminal facts' in a bribery case and will not appeal the decision.

    Chinese judiciary says Meng used his status to 'seek improper benefit' and accumulate bribes [File: Xinhua via AP]
    Chinese judiciary says Meng used his status to 'seek improper benefit' and accumulate bribes [File: Xinhua via AP]

    A court in China has sentenced former Interpol chief Meng Hongwei to 13 and a half years in prison for receiving bribes in a case that shook the international police organisation.

    The First Intermediate People's Court of Tianjin on Tuesday also fined Meng, a Chinese national who served a lengthy term as the vice minister for public security, 2 million yuan (approximately $290,000). 

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    Meng was elected president of Interpol in 2016, but his four-year term was cut short when he vanished after travelling to China from France, where the organisation is based, in late 2018.

    The court statement on Tuesday said Meng had "truthfully confessed to all the criminal facts" and would not appeal the decision.

    It added the 66-year-old admitted he abused his position to accept 14.4 million yuan ($2.1m) in bribes while serving in various offices, including as the vice minister of public security and maritime police chief, often in exchange for favours and using his influence with other officials.

    While serving at Interpol, Meng retained his title as China's vice minister of public security. 

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    Last March, China's ruling Communist Party said its investigation had found Meng spent "lavish" amounts of state funds, abused his power and refused to follow party decisions.

    Meng is among a growing group of Communist Party cadres caught in President Xi Jinping's anti-corruption campaign, which critics say has also served as a way to remove the leader's political enemies. 

    Meng's wife was granted political asylum in France last year, after saying she was afraid that she and her two children would be the targets of kidnapping attempts.

    SOURCE: News agencies