Browder and Interpol

Discussion in 'Russian Society' started by Alexander Mercouris, Aug 8, 2013.

  1. Alexander Mercouris

    Alexander Mercouris Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    News reports confirm the refusal of Interpol to issue a Red Notice to its Member States to arrest William Browder. This has elicited questions from the Russian Interior Ministry.

    http://en.rian.ru/crime/20130727/182452349/Russia-Seeks-Interpol-to-Explain-Rejection-of-Warrant-Request-for-Browder.html

    Browder is the head of the investment fund Hermitage Capital who was recently convicted of tax evasion in his absence by a Court in Moscow. Most attention concerning this trial has been focused on the Judgment made by the same Court that Sergei Magnitsky, the auditor of Hermitage Capital, was also guilty as Browder’s accomplice in setting up the tax evasion scheme, though the Court could take no action against Magnitsky because he is dead.

    Trials of defendants in their absence are uncommon but by no means unknown in other jurisdictions. The European Court of Human Rights has confirmed the legality of such trials. However it has said that a defendant convicted in his absence has the right to return to the country that convicted him and to demand a retrial. The authority is Colozza v Italy

    http://hudoc.echr.coe.int/sites/eng/pages/search.aspx?i=001-57462#{"itemid":["001-57462"]}

    Until such time as the convicted defendant returns to the country and applies for a retrial the Judgment against him stands.

    Browder has therefore been convicted by a Russian Court of tax evasion. Russia is a Member State of Interpol, which is purportedly a neutral and impartial agency. Russia was therefore fully entitled to ask Interpol to issue a Red Notice informing its Member States that Browder is sought by the Russian authorities as a person wanted for tax evasion.

    Interpol is not itself a police agency. It functions rather as a data information exchange between police forces enabling them to exchange information about persons who are wanted for crimes by police forces of Member States. Given that Browder was convicted of tax evasion (which is a criminal offence) by a Court in a Member State there are no obvious grounds to refuse to issue a Red Notice against him.

    Interpol has nonetheless refused to issue a Red Notice concerning Browder. This repeats a decision made in May 2013 to cancel an earlier Red Notice issued by Interpol at the request of the Russian Interior Ministry prior to the trial when Browder was only wanted for suspicion of tax evasion.

    http://www.interpol.int/News-and-media/News-media-releases/2013/PR063

    The decision to cancel the previous Red Notice in May 2013 was made by the Secretariat of Interpol, which is currently headed by an American (Robert Noble), following the recommendation of the Commission for the Control of Interpol’s Files (“CCIF”), which is the supervisory committee within Interpol set up to ensure that its data sharing arrangements are not misused. As the Interpol statement on that decision makes clear, the decision to cancel the Red Notice in May 2013 was made because of the supposedly “political” nature of the case against Browder.

    It is important to say at this point that though Interpol is supposed to be a neutral and impartial data information exchange agency, in reality it has a long history of being heavily influenced by particular Member States. Prior to the Second World War the dominant influence within Interpol was Germany. During the 1930s and 1940s Interpol fell under Nazi control. Folllowing the Nazi annexation of Austria (where it had been based) its headquarters were transferred to Berlin where it was formally headed by Reinhard Heydrich and Ernst Kaltenbrunner, the successive heads of the principal Nazi secret police agency the Reich Main Security Office (“RSHA”), and by Arthur Nebe, the head of the Nazi Criminal Police (“Kripo”), who acted successively as Interpol’s Presidents.

    Following the Second World War the dominant influence within Interpol has been the western powers, especially France and the United States. Interpol’s headquarters are actually situated in France (in Lyon) and much of its funding and staff is provided by France. It was on the insistence of the French government in the 1970s that Interpol set up the CCIF that made the recommendation in May 2013 to cancel the Red Notice against William Browder. The extent of French and western influence on Interpol is shown by the fact that since its refoundation following the Second World War the first four of Interpol’s Secretary Generals were French and the last two have been respectively a Briton and an American.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interpol#Secretaries-general_and_presidents

    The membership of the CCIF which recommended in May 2013 cancellation of the Red Notice against Browder further illustrates western dominance of Interpol.

    http://www.interpol.int/About-INTERPOL/Structure-and-governance/CCF/Composition

    The CCIF has an Irish chair. Of its four other members, one is French, one is Canadian, one is from Mauritius and one is Jordanian – all states that are close allies of the US.

    In the light of this Interpol’s refusal to issue a Red Notice against Browder on the grounds that the prosecution against him is political is completely unsurprising. By passing the Magnitsky Act in 2012 the US formally committed itself as a matter of law to Browder’s account of the case against him. The US simply cannot afford for decisions to be taken by international agencies like Interpol that might call into question the basis of the Magnitsky Act, especially if this exposes the US government to litigation in the US courts from persons who have been placed on the list created by the US government in accordance with that Act. This all but guarantees that the US will from now on exert its influence over bodies like Interpol to prevent them from taking action that might call into question the Magnitsky Act. Given the extent of US and western influence over Interpol, with the CCIF packed with US allies and the Secretary General who heads the Secretariat, which actually took the decision to cancel the previous Notice and to refuse to issue a new one himself an American, that all but guarantees that Interpol will refuse to issue a Red Notice against Browder however compelling the reasons for doing so might otherwise seem to be.
  2. Patrick Armstrong

    Patrick Armstrong Commissar

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    A coincidence, I'm sure.
    We all expected this to happen. So why is anyone surprised when Moscow doesn't cooperate on Snowden et al?
  3. Moscow Exile

    Moscow Exile Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    Same thing happened with criminal banker Andrei Borodin: a Red Notice was issued in November 2011, but it came to naught, as he was given political asylum in the UK.

    The house he lives in is supposed to be the most expensive in Britain, bought with the money he stole.

    It looks like most folk's dream of paradise, doesn't it?





    Rather ironic that, don't you think?

    "Stranger in Paradise" is from the Broadway musical hit "Kismet", an Arabian Nights tale. The irony of it all lies in the fact that "Kismet" was a combination of the music of a 19th century composer and a book written in 1911. The music of the song "Stranger In Paradise" was originally called by its composer "Gliding Dances of Maidens", part of a work of his entitled "Polovtsian dances", which formed part of his uncompleted opera "Prince Igor". (It was subsequently completed after his death by his pals.)

    And the composer's name?

    Alexander Borodin.

    Wonder if he's any relation?
  4. MarkPavelovich

    MarkPavelovich Commissar

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    I guess the rebuttal to any squealing from the British that Edward Snowden should do the manly thing and return to the United States to face judgment has more or less written itself, hasn't it?

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