The former Chinese head of Interpol, who went missing last month, was accused of accepting bribes on Monday, becoming the latest top official to fall into President Xi Jinping's anti-corruption dragnet.
After days of concealing the fate of Meng Hongwei – who is also China's vice minister for public security – from the international community, the public security ministry said Meng had accepted bribes but provided no further details on the allegations or the conditions and location of Meng's apparent detention.
French officials disclosed on Friday that Meng had been reported missing after leaving France for China, while his wife voiced concern for his life on Sunday some two weeks after he texted her an ominous knife emoji.
His case could tarnish Beijing's efforts to gain leadership posts in international organisations, but it is also a black eye for France-based Interpol, which is tasked with finding missing people, analysts say.
Interpol said on Sunday that Meng had resigned and would be temporarily replaced by a South Korean official until a new election in November – hours after China's anti-corruption body, the National Supervisory Commission, said he was under investigation for violating unspecified laws.
The public security ministry released a statement Monday afternoon, saying Meng accepted bribes and that the investigation "clearly expressed comrade Xi Jinping's" determination to fully carry out the struggle against corruption.