Russian candidate to lead Interpol opposed by US lawmakers

Russia accuses Kremlin critic Bill Browder of ordering murder of his own lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky

Russia denounces ‘interference’ in Interpol leadership vote

More recent high profile controversies include interfering in the 2016 USA presidential election, while earlier this year two Russian nationals were accused of the nerve agent poisonings of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury.

But the latest storm of criticism comes at an exceptional time - just as Russian Federation is trying to expand its global clout and as some powerful countries are questioning whether they need multilateral organizations like Interpol at all.

But the charges also come two days before Interpol's general assembly, meeting in Dubai, is expected to elect its new president, and one of the front-runners is Alexander Prokopchuk, who holds the rank of general in the Interior Ministry, which runs the police force.

The other candidate is South Korea's Kim Jong Yang, who has been acting president since former head Mr Meng Hongwei went missing in his native China last month.

What Is The Issue With His Possible Appointment?

And a leading candidate for the job is Alexander Prokopchuk, now Moscow's most senior Interpol official.

The Russian prosecutors said they chose to pursue the new charges against Browder after reviewing evidence submitted by Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Russian lawyer who met with Donald Trump Jr. and members of his father's presidential campaign in 2016 and who lobbied for the repeal of the Magnitsky Act. He was later released after the Interpol HQ in Lyon, France, told Spanish authorities to disregard the Russian request.

Current Interpol vice president Mr Prokopchuk is seen as the favourite for the position.

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The act was named after Mr Browder's lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, who was killed while in custody after investigating a web of corruption involving more than $200 million and slew of Kremlin-linked figures.

The MPs expressed "deep concern" at the potential appointment, adding that Russian Federation is among a number of states that have abused the system. The reason? Russia, they say, has a track record of using Interpol's systems to crack down on and pursue the Kremlin's political foes.

But critics fear his appointment would enable Russian Federation to abuse the agency's global arrest warrant procedure.

One group of United States senators said electing him would be "akin to putting a fox in charge of the henhouse", while a prominent Kremlin critic said it would be like "putting the mafia in charge".

Interpol's charter explicitly proclaims its neutrality, and two years ago it introduced measures aimed at strengthening the legal framework around the red notice system.

Who Are The Other Contenders?

Asked about the upcoming vote at Interpol in connection with the Browder case, Prosecutor General's Office spokesman Alexander Kurennoy told reporters that Moscow views the organization as "trusted partners" and expressed hope that "the procedures will be followed in a regular manner" when it submits an arrest warrant for Browder.

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