Browder: Interpol "playing with words" over Russian arrest warrant

Posted June 01, 2018

The financier and anti-Putin campaigner was arrested this morning in Madrid.

"This is the sixth time that Russian Federation has abused Interpol in my case", he tweeted, following his release from a Madrid police station.

In December 2017, Moscow's Tverskoy court found Browder, once the largest foreign portfolio investor in Russian Federation, guilty of tax dodging and sentenced him in absentia to nine years in prison. He tweeted on Wednesday morning that he'd been arrested on an Interpol warrant, but the global law enforcement agency denied involvement.

When Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer hired by Hermitage, was found dead in his Moscow prison cell in 2009, Browder embarked on a global crusade to demonize Russian Federation as a murderous dictatorship.

For a brief time Wednesday, Bill Browder was in Spanish custody. In March, he told British MPs that the Russian state wanted to "get me back to Russia and then kill me in their own system".

However, in an email, Interpol said it has never issued a Red Notice for Browder.

Last year, a Council of Europe report found that flaws in the Interpol red notice system allowed oppressive regimes to persecute dissidents overseas and expressed concern that Spain was not exercising the same screening process of red notices as other countries. "They want something in return", Browder told CBS News on Donald Trump Jr's meeting with a Russian lawyer in 2016.

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But the US-born financier, who is a British citizen, tweeted that a new notice had been issued. Russian Federation placed Browder on an Interpol wanted list last fall - its fifth attempt - after Interpol called it a misuse of the system and urged member states to ignore notices on Browder.

When Magnitsky alerted the government, he was arrested and, after refusing to testify against Hermitage and drop his allegations, he died in prison in 2009.

Magnitsky was arrested in 2008 shortly after alleging that Russian officials were involved in large-scale tax fraud.

British foreign minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday he had spoken to Browder and was glad he had been released.

The Magnitsky Act returned to the headlines in 2017 after it emerged that a lawyer supporting the Russian government's position had met senior figures in Donald Trump's USA presidential campaign, including Trump's son and son-in-law.

"Moscow should concentrate on bringing those responsible for the murder of #Magnitsky to justice", he tweeted.

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