China charges former Interpol president with bribery

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. China has formally arrested Meng on suspicion of accepting bribes. The Supreme People's Procuratorate announced the indictment on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)

BEIJING — China announced Wednesday that it has formally arrested former Interpol President Meng Hongwei on suspicion of accepting bribes.

The indictment from the Supreme People's Procuratorate comes after Meng was expelled last month from public office and the ruling Communist Party.

Meng's wife accused Chinese authorities of lying and questioned in a statement Wednesday whether her husband is still alive.

Meng was elected president of the international police organization in 2016, but his four-year term was cut short when he was detained by Chinese authorities during a visit to China last October. At the time, he was also one of China's vice ministers of public security.

The party's disciplinary committee said an investigation found that Meng was guilty of serious legal violations. It said in a statement that he abused his power in order to satisfy his family's "extravagant lifestyle."

Meng is among a slew of high-ranking officials who have been ensnared by President Xi Jinping's sweeping crackdown on graft and perceived disloyalty. Corruption charges usually result in convictions and lengthy sentences, including life in prison.

Meng's wife, Grace Meng, said in a statement that "Mr. Meng's human rights are still being violated. We don't even know if he is alive."

She has remained in France with their two boys since her husband's detention in September.

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Associated Press writer John Leicester in Paris contributed to this report.

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