China

Meng Hongwei: China sentences ex-Interpol chief to 13 years in jail

This handout photo taken on January 21, 2020 and released by the Tianjin First Intermediate People"s Court shows former Interpol chief Meng Hongwei in court Image copyright AFP
Image caption Meng Hongwei has admitted to taking more than $2m in bribes

A former Interpol chief accused of bribery was sentenced to 13-and-a-half years in jail by a Chinese court on Tuesday.

Meng Hongwei, who was the first Chinese head of Interpol, vanished on a trip back to the country from France in September 2018.

China later confirmed he had been detained as part of President Xi Jinping's drive against corruption.

Meng has admitted to taking more than $2m (£1.6m) in bribes.

The 56-year-old was also ordered by the Tianjin No 1 Intermediate People's Court to pay a fine of two million yuan ($289,540; £222,711).

The court statement said Meng would not appeal against the verdict.

Expelled and stripped of all positions

Meng disappeared in September 2018 during a visit to China from France, where international policing agency Interpol is based.

He was scheduled to serve as head of Interpol until 2020, but the organisation said he resigned as president days after his wife reported him as missing.

Chinese authorities later confirmed he had been detained and, in October, said Meng was being investigated over suspected bribe-taking.

The Communist Party said Meng had abused his position for personal gain, misused state funds to finance his family's "extravagant lifestyle" and disregarded Communist Party principles.

He was expelled from the party and stripped of all government positions, according to the party's watchdog, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI).

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Media captionGrace Meng says "cruel" China is persecuting her husband

Meng admitted his guilt in a trial last year. His wife, who is currently living in France under political asylum, has said the charges against him are politically motivated.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has overseen a vast and ruthless anti-corruption campaign in which one million officials have been disciplined. Critics say this campaign has been used to great effect to silence some of his political rivals.

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