Criminal News
Curiosities from the world, criminal news

UK should rethink Interpol role if Russian gets top job, MPs say

0 0

The government is under pressure from across the political spectrum to rethink the UK’s involvement in Interpol if the global policing cooperation organisation elects a Russian official as president this week.

Alexander Prokopchuk, a veteran of the Russian interior ministry, is one of two candidates to replace Meng Hongwei, who resigned last month after he was detained in China over corruption claims. The election takes place on Wednesday at Interpol’s general assembly in Dubai.


Answering an urgent Commons question on the vote, the Foreign Office minister Harriet Baldwin said the UK was backing the candidacy of the acting president, South Korea’s Kim Jong Yang, but declined to give details on what might happen if he lost.

Baldwin was urged by MPs from her own party, as well as from Labour and the Liberal Democrats, to consider the UK’s future in Interpol if Prokopchuk were to win.

Vince Cable, the Lib Dem leader who secured the urgent question on the issue, said Prokopchuk, currently one of Interpol’s vice-presidents, was “directly responsible” for the abuse of the organisation’s so-called red notice system to target Kremlin critics such as the US-born British financier William Browder.

“Can the minister confirm that the British government is doing all it can to campaign against the candidacy of Mr Prokopchuk?” Cable asked, adding that if Prokopchuk won it would be “an absolute insult to the victims of the Salisbury attack”.

Baldwin confirmed that the UK was backing the alternative candidate. “We do not speculate on the outcome of the election, but the UK supports the candidacy of acting president Kim Jong Yang,” she said.

She provided no details about what the government was doing to try to persuade other countries, but stressed that the secretary-general of Interpol, Germany’s Jürgen Stock, was responsible for day-to-day operations, and that the UK had a “very good working relationship with him”.

The Tory MP Tom Tugendhat, who chairs the Commons foreign affairs committee, said said he was alarmed by the prospect of Prokopchuk winning.

“This is really quite an extraordinary situation, to find ourselves with the possibility of not just a fox in charge of the hen coop, but actually the assassin in charge of the murder investigation,” he said.

“Would [Baldwin] join with me in saying that should this outcome happen, we will have to look very, very seriously about our cooperation with an organisation so discredited and so corrupted?”

The shadow foreign secretary, Emily Thornberry, asked Baldwin what a Prokopchuk victory would “mean for the future of Interpol, for the continued abuse of the arrest warrant system and for Britain’s continued participation in Interpol”.

She added: ”The question is: what diplomatic efforts will she be making in the next 24 hours, particularly in respect of our European and Commonwealth counterparts to build a majority against the election of the Russian candidate?”

Stewart Malcolm McDonald, the SNP’s defence spokesman, took a slightly different line, saying the potential election outcome was alarming, but adding: “Can I urge her to resist calls to withdraw from Interpol at this stage.”

The election was called after Interpol was obliged to accept the resignation of Meng, who had travelled back to China and was reported missing by his wife, who had stayed at home in the south-eastern French city of Lyon.

China informed Interpol that Meng had resigned as the organisation’s president, before saying he had been charged with accepting bribes.

Original »