FILE PHOTO- INTERPOL President Meng Hongwei poses during a visit to the headquarters of International Police Organisation in Lyon, France, May 8, 2018. Picture taken May 8, 2018. Jeff Pachoud-Pool via Reuters-File Photo
Reuters

Former Interpol chief Meng Hongwei has pleaded guilty to charges of accepting bribes, Chinese state media reported.

Meng, a Chinese citizen, has been under investigation since October 2018.

He is accused of taking 14.5 million yuan (2.1million dollars) in unlawful payments between 2005 and 2017, using his status and positions, including as vice minister of public security and Marine Police Chief to accumulate the money.

He reportedly admitted his guilt during a court hearing on Thursday in the northern city of Tianjin in China, according to the People’s Daily, an official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee.

Interpol, the global police coordination agency based in France said last October that Meng had resigned as president, days after his wife Grace Meng reported him missing after he travelled back to China.

He was later accused of accepting bribes and expelled from the Communist Party, with China’s Public Security Ministry saying in March that Meng’s “poisonous influence” had to be “thoroughly eliminated”.

It was not clear who Meng’s lawyer was and news agencies have been unable to reach them or any legal representative for comment.

Chinese courts are tightly controlled by the Communist Party and Meng is almost certain to be found guilty, Reuters news agency said.

The court will announce its verdict at a “select date or time,” a statement from the court said, without specifying further.

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

More than one million officials have been punished so far during Xi’s six-year tenure. He has vowed to target both “tigers” and “flies”, a reference to elite officials and lower-level bureaucrats.

As vice security minister, Meng oversaw a number of sensitive portfolios, including the country’s counter-terrorism division, and he was in charge of the response to violence in China’s fractious northwestern region of Xinjiang.

Meng’s wife, Grace, has requested political asylum in France, according to state media reports.

She is accusing the Communist Party of targeting Meng unfairly due to political reasons.

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