Published: Wed, November 21, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

United States endorses South Korean candidate to lead Interpol

United States endorses South Korean candidate to lead Interpol

Politicians in Lithuania and Ukraine have urged their governments to quit Interpol if Prokopchuk is elected, while Britain has said it is backing his South Korean rival Kim Jong-yang, now the organisation's senior VP. Writing on social media, he cast them as a vendetta waged by Mr Putin for his lobbying, which in 2012 led to USA sanctions on Russian Federation in what is widely known as the Magnitsky Act.

Four U.S. senators, including Marco Rubio, have urged the Trump administration to oppose the Prokopchuk candidacy.

Critics raised concerns over Russia's previous applications for Interpol "red notices", or worldwide arrest warrants, to target those who have fallen foul of the Kremlin.

Russian Maj. Gen. Alexander Prokopchuk is now tabbed as the favorite to replace Meng - leading some to fear it will embolden the Kremlin in its activities.

In a Monday letter to the Trump administration, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators wrote that electing Prokopchuk would be akin "putting a fox in charge of a henhouse", and claimed that Russian Federation would abuse its control over the agency. "Russia routinely abuses Interpol for the goal of settling scores and harassing political opponents, dissidents and journalists". He said it was clear Prokopchuk would use the position to continue Russian abuse of the "red notice" system.

The election of the global organisation's next president is set to be held on Wednesday at Interpol's general assembly in Dubai. Beijing later said Meng resigned after being charged with accepting bribes.

Human rights groups raised the alarm two years ago when Interpol's general assembly approved Meng Hongwei, a longtime senior Chinese security official, as president.

British Foreign Office minister Harriet Baldwin told parliament that London would support Yang's bid.

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"We always seek to endorse candidates who have a history of observing standards of worldwide behaviour", she said.

"Our team has suffered from abuse of Interpol for political persecution by Russia", Navalny wrote on Twitter.

'I don't think that a president from Russian Federation will help to reduce such violations'.

Ukraine, deeply at odds with Moscow over its annexation of Crimea and support for separatists, threatened to pull out of Interpol if Prokopchuk prevailed. Likewise, Lithuania also said it would consider withdrawing.

To Moscow, the complaints are all part of a Western-led campaign to weaken a resurgent Russian Federation.

"The Interpol constitution has very specific rules which forbid countries who are serial abusers from using the system", Browder told reporters.

Browder was briefly detained by Spanish police in May on a Russian Interpol red notice that was then deemed invalid.

Magnitsky, a lawyer working for Mr Browder, was arrested in 2008 after uncovering evidence of large-scale tax fraud among Russian officials.

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