Russia is a “criminal state” which is “abusing” the powers of Interpol, MPs will be told this week, amid concerns that a UAE security chief accused of presiding over ‘torture’ will become the organisation’s new head.
The global police and crime organisation is facing a Parliamentary inquiry over concerns that it is vulnerable to manipulation by ‘rogue’ member states including Russia, China and the UAE.
The Foreign Affairs Committee will hear from Bill Browder, the British financier and arch critic of Vladimir Putin, who has been subject to eight interpol arrest notices by Russia on “trumped up” charges over the ‘poisoning’ of a Kremlin whistleblower – all of which have been refused.
Interpol should “suspend access of serial abusers like Russia to its databases,” he will say on Tuesday.
“Britain should work with its allies – the US, Canada, Australia, the European Union, and others on withholding funds if Interpol refuses to reform,” he will add.
The organisation has come under increased scrutiny after its president Meng Hongwei was disappeared by Chinese authorities and sentenced to 13 years in prison on bribery charges in 2018.
Russia’s Alexander Prokopchuk was lined up as a presumptive successor but has been accused of abusing Red Notices. His election was likened to “putting a fox in charge of the henhouse” by US officials who helped block his leadership bid.
Earlier this month, the Telegraph revealed that a United Arab Emirates security head accused of presiding over the ‘torture’ of a British academic is a frontrunner for the role, and could be elected in December.
Major General Nasser Ahmed Al-Raisi has been accused of serious human rights violations in the Middle East, including against British citizens Matthew Hedges and Ali Ahmad, and Interpol has been warned it could lose credibility if he is chosen to be its President. He has never responded to claims.
American-born Browder has spent more than a decade fighting to uncover Russian money laundering after once being the country’s largest foreign investor.
His lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, was killed in a Moscow jail in 2009, and Mr Browder pushed through the Magnitsky Act in the US which barred a number of officials from entering America, as well as having their assets frozen.
Mr Browder believes that Britain should do more to stand up to what he describes as “criminal states.”
“The UK contributes 5.8 per cent of Interpol’s budget,” he will say.
“It should use this leverage to demand the enforcement of Interpol’s rules in relation to abusive notices issued against British citizens, and call for Interpol to suspend access of serial abusers like Russia to Interpol’s databases.”
The ways in which states engage with multilateral organisations is changing, the committee says.
The inquiry will focus on the role of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in exerting the UKs influence within these organisations and examine how it might drive reform in order to reduce their vulnerability to abuse and misuse.