Meng Hongwei, the former head of INTERPOL, was on Tuesday 21 January sentenced to 13 years’ imprisonment by a Chinese court. Mr Meng pleaded guilty last year to using his position in China and in other countries to “seek improper benefits” amounting to more than $2 million in bribes.
Mr Meng was the first Chinese national to serve as president of INTERPOL until his disappearance in October 2018 while visiting China. It was confirmed by Chinese state media that Mr Meng had been arrested as part of President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption efforts. The years-long campaign has seen the arrest and imprisonment of a number of high-ranking individuals in the Chinese security and intelligence community, creating controversy over whether it is a sincere anti-corruption drive or an attempt by the President to consolidate power.
Mr Meng’s wife, who has been granted asylum in France, has stated that she believes the charges against her husband to be politically motivated and has accused INTERPOL of being “complicit in the internationally wrongful acts of its member country, China”.