Wife of ex-Interpol chief granted asylum in France

Meng Hongwei, president of Interpol, gives an addresses at the opening of the Interpol World Congress in Singapore on July 4, 2017. (AFP pic)

PARIS: The wife of ex-Interpol chief Meng Hongwei has been granted asylum in France, her lawyer said.

Interpol, the global police coordination agency based in France, said last October that Meng had resigned as its president, days after his wife, Grace Meng, reported him missing after he travelled back to his home country of China.

Chinese prosecutors this month filed formal charges against Meng, accusing him of abuse of power and taking bribes.

In March, China’s ruling Communist Party said its own investigation into Meng found he spent ‘lavish’ amounts of state funds, abused his power and refused to follow party decisions.

His wife has dismissed the allegations and said his arrest was politically motivated. Meng became president of the global police cooperation agency in late 2016 as China widened its bid to secure leadership posts in international organisations.

His appointment prompted concern at the time from rights groups that Beijing might try to leverage his position to pursue dissidents abroad.

Under President Xi Jinping, China has pursued a sweeping crackdown on official corruption.