Wife of ex-Chinese Interpol chief sues agency


National | Written by : IANS| Updated: Sun, Jul 07, 2019, 12:52 PM


Wife of ex-Chinese Interpol chief sues agency

Beijing, July 7 (IANS) The wife of the disgraced Interpol chief detained in China for corruption has launched a lawsuit against the global policing body for allegedly making threats against her with the aim of preventing her from speaking about the disappearance of her husband, her lawyers confirmed to the South China Morning Post daily on Sunday.

The legal action filed at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague is the latest twist to the high-profile disappearance of China's first president of Interpol, Meng Hongwei, after his confession in a Chinese court to accepting more than $2 million in bribes.

"(Interpol) failed to protect and assist my family and it is complicit in the internationally wrongful acts of its member country, China," Grace Meng said in a statement.

"Despite Interpol's threat for speaking out, I am announcing that I have launched legal proceedings against Interpol at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague."

She added that a tribunal would be set up to ascertain Interpol's claims that Meng Hongwei's disappearance was "only a matter for the relevant authorities in France and China", or whether the global institution "breached its obligations owed to my family".

Meng Hongwei last appeared in a trial at Tianjin No 1 Intermediate People's Court on June 20, in which he admitted using various positions he held from 2005 to 2017 to help companies and people make illegal gains.

He pleaded guilty to the accusation and is set to be sentenced at a later date.

France, where the Interpol is headquartered, has reportedly granted asylum to Grace Meng.

Responding to the lawsuit, the Interpol, in a statement, told the South China Morning Post, described Grace Meng's claim that she was threatened as a "complete mischaracterisation". 

"We have reminded the claimants and their representatives of their legal and professional obligations to respect the confidentiality of these proceedings.

"These arbitration proceedings are confidential... We are therefore unable to address the specifics of the claim, except to say that we dispute the allegations as baseless."

The former Interpol chief mysteriously disappeared after boarding a plane headed for China on September 25, 2018. His family lost track of him, and his wife reported him missing and called for help, reports Efe news. 

After several days of silence and under pressure from the international community, which demanded explanations from Beijing about Meng Hongwei's whereabouts, the National Supervisory Commission, a Chinese anti-corruption agency, confirmed in October 2018 that he was being detained. 

Shortly afterward, Interpol announced the departure of its president with immediate effect after Meng Hongwei resigned from office in a letter. 

Chinese law stipulates that the police have the authority to hold suspects accused of national security, terrorism or bribery offenses without communication and in a secret location for up to six months, a regulation that, in many cases, is applied to keep dissidents or activists in long-term custody. 

Since President Xi Jinping came into power in 2013, China has tried several senior officials for accepting bribes as part of its anti-corruption campaign.