Putin-controlled general may become new Interpol chief

Alexander Prokopchuk, General of the Russian police, is reported to stand a good chance of becoming the next President of INTERPOL. There are fears that this may result in exploiting the international police by some members of the organization.

Ukraine may stop being a member of INTERPOL if the representative of Russia chairs the organization, Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said on Monday.

“Russia’s would-be leadership in INTERPOL is nonsense; it contradicts the spirit and goals of this organization. If the arguments of Ukraine and other countries are not heard, Ukraine will consider the withdrawal from membership in IPCO,” he said on Twitter.

On November 18-21, the General Assembly of Interpol is being held in Dubai. The participants are expected to elect a new head of the agency as Chinese Meng Hongwei resigned in October after he had gone missing for a few days while travelling to his native country. According to the Chinese authorities, he is suspected of bribery and a probe into the case is being carried out at the moment. Russian general Aleksander Prokopchuk is the front runner in the election process, Avakov, who is participating in the event, warns.

“Alexander Prokopchuk, a veteran of the Ministry of Interior and foreign intelligence of the Russian Federation, is running for the post of the INTERPOL president. The Putin regime might be waging an open hybrid war against a significant part of the civilized world, but he is a candidate,” the Ukrainian Interior Minister wrote in a blog on the news portal Ukrainska Pravda.

He reminded of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and stated that Moscow was also using its secret services, the FSB and the GRU, to take members of organized crime groups to Ukraine.

“We hear a lot of complaints that Russia abuses INTERPOL’s instruments to exert pressure on its opponents. If Prokopchuk becomes the head of INTERPOL, it will allow the Russian regime to extend the practice of using Red Notices to limit the freedom of the opponents and persecute them in the interests of the regime,” Avakov stressed.

The so-called Red Notice is an arrest warrant containing information about a wanted person’s being a very dangerous criminal.

Gen. Alexander Prokopchuk. Phot. Russian Ministry of Interior

Since 2011, Ukrainian-born Aleksandr Prokopchuk has been the head of the National Central Office of INTERPOL at the Russian Ministry of Interior. In 2016, he became a vice-president of INTERPOL. During his time, Russia has gained notoriety famous for attempts to abuse international arrest warrants and ignoring its obligations.

For example, in May 2017, Bill Browder, CEO of Hermitage Capital Management, an investment fund that at one time was the largest foreign portfolio investor in Russia. Since the death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky in Moscow prison in 2009, Browder has been trying to bring to light corruption cases in the inner circle of Vladimir Putin. The alleged reason for Magnitsky’s death is his discovering the illegal mechanism Russian top officials used to grab assets and companies from its owners. Browder also contributed to the US Congress’ creating the Magnitsky Act that imposed sanctions on Russian officials who violated human rights. Since that time, Russia has made six attempts to put pressure on the businessman with the help of INTERPOL. In the wake of the latest case, INTERPOL’s Secretary General instructed the agency to ignore Russia’s arrest warrants for Browder.

Belarus, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Iran have been also spotted in using Red Notices to leverage over their dissidents. Notably, these regimes may vote for the Russian candidate on Wednesday.

belsat.eu, following PAP, Rzeczpospolita, Wschodnik.pl