There is an interesting conflict that has arisen between Interpol and the Putin government. Putin’s government has demanded the arrest of UK-based fund manager William Browder for his alleged tax evasion and told Interpol to put him on its list of wanted individuals. In a rare denial, Interpol decided that the Putin regime was pursuing Browder for offenses “of a predominantly political nature” and refused to assist the Russians.
Browder once ran the investment company Hermitage Capital which did business in Russia’s equity market. He eventually became disheartened by the level of corruption and the authoritarian practices under Putin, especially after the suspicious death in 2009 of Sergei Magnitsky, a Hermitage lawyer investigating a $230 million tax fraud.
As we have previously discussed, Magnitsky (right) was arrested after going public with corruption charges against Russian officials and died in police custody in the “Sailor’s Silence” prison.
Interpol refused to inform its member nations of Russia’s demand for Browder’s whereabouts or to assist in his arrest among its 190-nation system.
Browder’s order of arrest occurred days after the U.S. moves to bar travel by various Russians involved in the abuse and corruption scandal. Prosecutors insist that Browder and Magnitsky conspired to underpay taxes by $16 million by using tax breaks for disabled employees. The orders (including a posthumous charge against Magnitsky) were condemned internationally as trumped up charges and a return to Soviet era abuses of the legal system by Putin’s regime.
As we have discussed earlier, Putin himself has been accused of squirreling away billions during his tenure.
Source: New York Times