China says Interpol ex-president confesses to bribe taking, wife suspects an imposter

Former Interpol President Meng Hongwei confessed Thursday to accepting more than $2 million in bribes, according to a Chinese court  – but Meng's  wife has questioned whether the man seen on TV is even her husband.

Meng, a former Communist Party member who was elected president of the international police organization in 2016, disappeared while visiting China at the end of September. The 65-year-old was shown on television Thursday wearing a plain brown windbreaker and flanked by two bailiffs while appearing older and grayer than during his time as one of China’s top law enforcement officers.

“No matter how they insult him or frame him, they can’t change the facts,” his wife Grace told the Associated Press from France, while simultaneously questioning whether Meng was even alive, saying she was not certain the figure who appeared on TV was her husband.

“He is worthy of his motherland, worthy of police honor, and worthy of the people who love him,” she added.

The No. 1 Intermediate Court in the northeastern port city of Tianjin said Meng read a statement containing the confession at a hearing where he expressed regret for his alleged crimes. The court claims Meng abused his various positions to curry favor with others in return for bribes, but his wife maintains his innocence.

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In this July 2017 photo, then Interpol President Meng Hongwei delivers his opening address at the Interpol World Congress, in Singapore.

In this July 2017 photo, then Interpol President Meng Hongwei delivers his opening address at the Interpol World Congress, in Singapore. (AP)

“The international community will know the truth,” she said, calling the accusations against him a “fake case” that was set up for political reasons.

There are suspicions Meng fell out of favor with Chinese President Xi Jinping, whose campaign against corruption, observers say, is designed to strengthen Communist Party control and prevent challenges to his authority.

Fox News' Tyler Olson and the Associated Press contributed to this report.