Bill Browder claims Interpol "playing with words" over Russian arrest warrant after his detention in Madrid today
Bill Browder has claimed Interpol is "playing with words" after the international police body claimed it had never issued a warrant for his arrest.
The financier and anti-Putin campaigner was arrested this morning in Madrid. Live-tweeting his plight, the Hermitage Capital founder said it was brought about by a Russian Interpol Red Notice.
Browder posted pictures taken from the back of a police car and his warrant, which showed a charge of fraud, before he was released. He has since returned to the UK.
Browder, w ho is head of the global Magnitsky justice campaign, tweeted that he had been released "after Interpol General Secretary in Lyon advised them not to honour the new Russian Interpol Red Notice".
"Just to be clear, my arrest this morning in Madrid was the result of a SIXTH Russian arrest warrant using Interpol channels. It was NOT an expired warrant, but a live one.
"Interpol is incapable of stopping Russian abuse of their systems," he added.
An Interpol spokesperson said: "There is not, and never has been, a Red Notice for Mr Bill Browder.
"Browder is not wanted via Interpol channels."
But Browder countered that, telling City A.M.:"Interpol is playing a word game - there has never been a red notice, but there have been a number of diffusion notices - it just means it hasn't been officially approved."
"In the last 10 months the Russians have added me three times - th at is a matter of public record."
Two years ago Interpol appointed a senior figure from Vladimir Putin's administration as vice president for Europe.
Prior to his appointment, Alexander Prokopchuk was head of the Russian interior ministry department dealing with Interpol affairs for 10 years.
In an FT editorial by Russian Federation chair David Clark published at the time, he noted that Prokopchuk's appointment was "extraordinary, not least because Russia has become notorious for its abuse of the Interpol Red Notice system that entitles member states to have named suspects arrested anywhere in the world pending extradition to their own jurisdiction".
Clark added: "Despite the fact that the organisationâs constitution obliges it to act in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and avoid involvement in political cases, Interpol has frequently allowed its Red Notice procedure to be used as an ins trument of persecution by authoritarian regimes, especially Russia."
Just weeks ago Browder told City A.M. that British citizens who were critical of the Putin regime were at "great risk", warning that unless the UK government acted there would be "more killings on UK soil".
Back in March he told MPs he believed the Russians would like "more than anything" to arrest him and "get me back to Russia and then kill me in the control of their own system".
His lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, uncovered a Â£174m fraud believed to have involved Russian officials against Hermitage Capital Management.
Magnitsky was imprisoned and died in a Russian jail, amid claims he was tortured.
A Home Office minister called it an âatrocious murderâ and it led to calls for the Magnitsky amendment, enabling the government to freeze the UK assets of those suspected of abusing human rights, which was recently approved b y the Commons.
Foreign secretary Boris Johnson said: "Very glad he has now been released. Moscow should concentrate on bringing those responsible for the murder of Magnitsky to justice."
Foreign office minister Sir Alan Duncan added: "Deeply concerned to learn that the Russians have tried to get Bill Browder arrested in Spain. He is a British citizen and we will establish the full facts ASAP."
Number 10 was unable to comment at the time of writing.Source: Google News