British Vladimir Putin critic 'arrested in Spain on Russian warrant'


A prominent critic of the Kremlin says Russian Federation is trying to block his investigation into the murder of a former employee by abusing an Interpol system of warrants that caused him to be briefly detained in Spain on Wednesday.

Bill Browder has claimed Interpol is "playing with words" after the worldwide police body claimed it had never issued a warrant for his arrest.

Browder, who is the head of the Hermitage Capital investment fund, said Spanish police took him away when he was heading to meet with prosecutors on Wednesday to share evidence on property investments in Spain with funds allegedly linked to Magnitsky's murder.

However, the press service of the Spanish National Police did not officially confirm or deny the reports.

Browder was sentenced to nine years imprisonment on December 29, 2017 after he was found guilty of deliberate bankruptcy and tax evasion of over $48.4 million United States dollars.

He pushed for the 2012 Magnitsky Act, which punished several prominent Russians with USA sanctions, and lately he has spoken frequently of Russian attempts to influence the domestic affairs of other countries.

Detailing the events on social media, Mr Browder wrote: "Urgent: Just was arrested by Spanish police in Madrid on a Russian Interpol arrest warrant".

He also shared a copy of the arrest warrant from the National Police Force Directorate General informing him of his right to remain silent, obtain a lawyer and call his family.

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Shortly before 11 a.m., Mr Browder tweeted a second photo of an English translation of his arrest warrant, dated May 30: "he/she has been arrested by his/her alleged participation in the criminal facts: fraud".

Mr Browder, a US-born British national, claimed this was the sixth time Russian Federation had "abused Interpol" in pursuing him.

Browder had his United States travel privileges revoked a year ago, apparently triggered by Russia's decision to try and place Browder on the Interpol wanted list in pursuit of his arrest.

The Russian Prosecutor General's Office said it hasn't yet received information about Browder's arrest, according to state-run Tass news service.

As the founder of Hermitage Capital Management, Browder was at loggerheads with the Russian government following the death of his lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who died in custody in Moscow in 2009 after uncovering widespread fraud worth $231 million among Russian officials.

"Browder is not wanted via Interpol channels".

Interpol had previously refused to enforce a similar 2013 sentence for Browder, deeming it "predominantly political in nature".