China said former Interpol President Meng Hongwei pleaded guilty to taking bribes, state media said Thursday, months after going missing during a visit to his home country.
Meng stood trial in a Tianjin municipal court on charges he accepted bribes of 14.5 million yuan ($2.1 million) between 2005 and 2017, the official Xinhua News Agency said. China previously removed him from his government post as vice public security minister over violations that included taking bribes and abusing power, and expelled him from the Communist Party.
The disappearance and secretive investigation into the international law enforcement agency’s first Chinese president has shined a light on China’s opaque legal system and raised questions about its respect for international norms. Details about investigation into Meng’s finances have trickled out in Chinese state media since his disappearance in September.
Meng used his position to seek employment for his wife, Grace, and connived to use his authority for personal gain, China’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said in December.
Grace Meng said her husband worked at Interpol headquarters in Lyon, France, and was reported missing on Sept. 29. The Ministry of Public Security in Beijing said in October that he was being investigated on allegations, including the acceptance of bribes and violation of other Chinese laws.
Reuters reported in January that Grace Meng had applied for asylum in France because she feared for her life after being followed by strangers, receiving suspicious phone calls and having her car license plates photographed by mysterious people.