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China Charges Former Interpol Chief With Bribery

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FILE - Then-Interpol chief Meng Hongwei poses during a visit to the headquarters of International Police Organization in Lyon, France, May 8, 2018.

Chinese prosecutors have filed formal charges of abuse of power and bribery against former Interpol President Meng Hongwei, in a case that began when he disappeared during a trip to Beijing.

The prosecutor's office in the northeastern Chinese city of Tianjin made the announcement Friday, saying Meng abused his power when he was a deputy minister of public security and head of China's coast guard, and had taken "an extremely large" amount of bribe money.

Meng's wife, Grace, who lives in France, has dismissed the allegations and maintains his arrest was politically motivated.

Meng was elected president of Interpol in 2016 and disappeared last September while on a visit to his home country from France, where the global law enforcement agency is headquartered.

Interpol was not informed and was forced to make a formal request to China for information about Meng's whereabouts.

Beijing later announced he had been detained on allegations of accepting bribes and had resigned from Interpol.

Meng was then expelled from public office and China's ruling Communist Party.

When Meng rose to the top of Interpol, it was seen as a bid by China to gain more leadership roles in international organizations. His fall from grace came amid suspicions that he is one of many Communist Party officials who have fallen out of political favor with Chinese President Xi Jinping because of perceived disloyalty and corruption.

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