BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese prosecutors filed formal charges on Friday against former Interpol chief Meng Hongwei, accusing him of abuse of power and taking bribes, in the next legal step before he faces a court.
Interpol, the global police coordination agency based in France, last October said Meng had resigned as its president, days after his wife reported him missing after he travelled back to his home country of China.
In March, the ruling Communist Party said its own investigation into Meng found he spent “lavish” amounts of state funds, abused his power and refused to follow party decisions.
His wife has dismissed the allegations and said his arrest was politically motivated.
In a short statement, prosecutors said they had filed charges against him with a court in the northern city of Tianjin, which is close to the capital Beijing.
The prosecutors said they charged Meng with abusing his power when he was previously a deputy minister of public security and head of China’s coast guard, and taking “an extremely large” amount of bribes.
It added that they had informed Meng of his rights and listened to the opinions of his lawyer.
It is not clear who his lawyer is.
The statement gave no other details.
Meng is certain to be found guilty when his case eventually comes to trial as the courts are controlled by the party and will not challenge its accusations.
Meng became president of the global police cooperation agency in late 2016 as China widened its bid to secure leadership posts in international organisations.
His appointment prompted concern at the time from rights groups that Beijing might try to leverage his position to pursue dissidents abroad.
Under President Xi Jinping, China has pursued a sweeping crackdown on official corruption.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; editing by Darren Schuettler)