A Chinese court sentenced Meng Hongwei, the former president of Interpol, to 13-and-a-half years in prison for allegedly accepting more than $2 million in bribes, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.
Meng pleaded guilty last year to using his positions as vice minister of public security in China and president of Interpol to finagle more than $2 million in bribes between 2005 and 2017.
Meng served as president of the international police agency from 2016 to 2018, when he disappeared during a trip to China. Shortly after, China announced it was holding the former Interpol president on accusations of corruption. He submitted his resignation as president soon afterward.
When Meng was elected as president of Interpol in 2016, critics feared he’d use the position as a means of pursuing dissidents abroad. Some view his sentencing as a fall from grace between Meng and Chinese Leader Xi Jinping, who is running an anti-corruption campaign throughout the country.
In October, Interpol issued a statement that Kim Jong Yang of South Korea would become the agency’s acting president. The presidency of Interpol is a part-time, unpaid position tasked with overseeing the General Assembly of the agency, which boasts the membership of 194 countries.
The president works with the secretary general — currently Jürgen Stock, in his second appointed term — who is responsible for implementing the decisions of the General Assembly and guiding the organization’s day-to-day affairs.