BEIJING – The Supreme People’s Procuratorate of China issued on Wednesday an official arrest warrant against a former Interpol president over bribery charges.
Meng Hongwei was detained in the Asian country without being formally charged and his exact whereabouts are unknown since September of the last year.
According to a statement published by the public security ministry, Meng is suspected of accepting bribes and his case is being processed.
On March 27, Meng, 56, was expelled from the Communist Party of China (CPC) and stripped from all of his positions for allegedly committing serious violations of the party’s law and discipline, Hong Kong press reported.
The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection had accused Meng – a former member of the committee and a former public security vice-minister – of abusing power and squandering public funds among other accusations.
The former Interpol chief mysteriously disappeared after boarding a plane heading to China on Sept. 25.
Meng’s family lost track of him, and his wife, Grace, who lives in France, reported him missing and called for help.
After several days of silence and under pressure from the international community, which demanded explanations from China about Meng’s whereabouts, the National Supervisory Commission, a Chinese anti-corruption agency, confirmed in early October that Meng was detained.
The ministry of public security said in a statement on Oct. 8 that an investigation was opened against Meng after it was detected that he had allegedly accepted bribes and violated state law, saying the acts had caused serious damage to the Communist Party and national security.
Chinese authorities said in early October that they would continue to probe Meng’s alleged illegal acts and prosecute those who participated with him in the crimes.
Shortly afterwards, Interpol announced the resignation of its president with immediate effect, after Meng resigned from office in a letter.
Chinese law stipulates that the police have the authority to hold suspects accused of national security offenses or accused of terrorism or bribery without communication and in a secret location for up to six months, a regulation that, in many cases, applies to dissidents or activists.
Meng had served as Vice Minister of Public Security in China until his appointment as Interpol chief in Nov. 2016 and was due to serve the head of Interpol until 2020.
Since China President Xi Jinping came into power in 2013, China has judged several senior officials for receiving bribes in its anti-corruption campaign.