China sacks ex-Interpol chief from Communist Party for corruption, disciplinary violations

Meng Hongwei has been accused of abusing his position and power for personal gain, squandering state funds to finance his family's extravagant lifestyle.

Published: 27th March 2019 06:46 PM  |   Last Updated: 27th March 2019 06:46 PM   |  A+A-

FILE - In this July 4, 2017 file photo, Interpol President, Meng Hongwei, walks toward the stage to deliver his opening address at the Interpol World congress in Singapore. (Photo | AP)

Interpol President, Meng Hongwei, walks toward the stage to deliver his opening address at the Interpol World congress in Singapore. (File photo | AP)

By PTI

BEIJING: China on Wednesday sacked former Interpol chief Meng Hongwei from all his official positions and expelled him from the ruling Communist Party, accusing him of corruption, serious disciplinary violations and encouraging his wife who is settled abroad to campaign against his detention.

Meng, 65, who was once a rising political star among officialdom of the Communist Party of China (CPC), held the powerful post of vice-minister of public security before being appointed as China's first official to head the Interpol -- a global organisation that facilitates worldwide police cooperation.

He was expelled from the CPC and removed from office for serious disciplinary violations and suspected graft crimes, the Party's disciplinary watchdog and national supervisory commission announced, state-run China Daily reported.

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) said the Central Committee of CPC had also approved an investigation into Meng, who was a member of the committee and vice-minister for public security.

The CCDI accused Meng of abusing his position and power for personal gain, squandering state funds to finance his family's extravagant lifestyle and disregarding the principles of being a party member.

In a rare acquisition, the statement also accused Meng of encouraging his wife to use his status to further her own interests, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported.

READ HERE | Former Interpol-chief's wife not sure if husband is alive; fears her own safety

Any assets acquired as a result of Meng's alleged illegal activities would be handed over to procuratorial office in accordance with the law, the anti-corruption watchdog said.

Meng vanished in late September after leaving his home in the French city of Lyon for China.

He sent his wife Grace Meng a message on social media, telling her to "wait for my call", along with a knife emoji suggesting he was in some kind of danger.

Grace Meng reported her husband missing to the French authorities on October 4 and was later put under police protection after receiving threatening messages over telephone and online.

Earlier this year, she applied for asylum in France.

On October 6, Interpol issued a request to the Chinese government for information on Meng's whereabouts and the CCDI replied the following day, saying he had been detained in connection with an investigation into alleged corruption.

Confirming his detention, the Chinese Ministry of public security on October 8, 2018 said that he is being probed for bribery and other crimes but did not elaborate.

The statement came after a meeting held by Public Security Minister Zhao Kezhi expressed "unanimous support" for the probe against Meng and pledged "absolute political loyalty" to President Xi Jinping and the party leadership.

Xi, who is regarded as the most powerful leader of China after Mao Zedong, heads the ruling CPC, the military and the presidency.

He has been designated as the core leader and a constitutional amendment has removed two-term limit for the president, paving the way for him to be the leader for life.

The statement indicated that Meng is being probed for links with disgraced senior official Zhou Yongkang.

Zhou, 75, was the highest ranking CPC official having served as the security chief in the previously Hu Jintao regime who was punished in the massive anti-corruption campaign by Xi in which over a million officials were punished since he came to power in 2012.

Zhou is currently serving life sentence after admitting allegations against him.

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