Former Interpol president Meng Hongwei at the Interpol World Congress in Singapore in 2017. File picture: Wong Maye-E/AP

Beijing - Former Interpol chief Meng Hongwei has pleaded guilty to taking more than 2 million dollars in bribes, a court in east China said.

Meng, who has been under investigation since October, stood trial Thursday in the Tianjin First Intermediate People's Court.

He is accused of accepting bribes of nearly 14.5 million yuan (2.1 million dollars), the court said.

The court said that between 2005 and 2017 Meng abused his positions as former vice minister of public security and director of the China Maritime Police Bureau to curry favour with others in return for bribes.

The court is yet to pronounce a verdict and sentence.

Meng's case draws parallels with other high-profile detentions in China, among them that of Zhou Yongkang, a former security chief and Standing Committee member of the powerful Politburo ruling body.

Critics have accused Chinese President Xi Jinping of using a widespread anti-corruption campaign to remove rivals and cement his grip on power.

Meng disappeared on a trip to China in late September, while he was serving as head of the France-based international police organization Interpol.

His wife reported him missing in early October. Days later, China's top anti-corruption body said he was under investigation, and Interpol said that it had received his resignation.

French prosecutors dropped an investigation into his disappearance after it became clear he was in custody in China.

He was expelled from the Chinese Communist Party in March.

Meng's wife, Grace, has requested political asylum in France, according to state media reports. She is accusing the Communist Party of targeting Meng unfairly due to political reasons.  

dpa