Russia has been dealt a blow in its attempts to have their candidate elected as Interpol’s next president following the election of South Korea’s Kim Jong Yang.
Mr Kim edged out Alexander Prokopchuk, a veteran of Russia’s security services who was strongly opposed by the US, Britain and other European nations.
The White House and its European partners had lobbied against Mr Prokopchuk’s attempts to be named the next president of the policing organisation, saying his election would lead to further Russian abuses of Interpol’s red notice system to go after political opponents.
Mr Prokopchuk is a general in the Russian Interior Ministry and serves as an Interpol vice president.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt welcomed the result as ‘very important news for rule of law internationally’ after concerns Mr Prokopchuk would be victorious.
British financier Bill Browder, a long-standing critic of Mr Putin, hailed the vote and vowed to continue his battle to get Russia suspended from the police network over its ‘serial abuse’ of arrest notices.
He tweeted: ‘Interpol rejects Russian candidate as president. Instead votes to elect South Korean candidate. Reason prevails in this dark world.’
Interpol confirmed the decision had been made at its general assembly in Dubai on Wednesday.
Mr Kim’s win came after MPs joined fears expressed by prominent politicians of a ‘mafia’ takeover if Mr Prokopchuk was elected.
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable was among those to give warnings, saying selecting the Russian would be an ‘absolute insult’ to the victims of the Salisbury Novichok poisonings.
Tory MP and Conservative Commons Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Tom Tugendhat added to the BBC: ‘We are looking at the possibility of one of the henchmen of a mafia state, one of Putin’s appointees, taking over an international law based organisation.
‘This is an organisation that Mr Prokopchuk himself has already tried to corrupt by using the so-called red notice system, a system for international arrest, for opponents of the Putin regime, for journalists.’
Former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab added that the election of the ‘Putin-appointed police general’ would ‘shred its credibility’.
Concerns were also raised when the previous Interpol president, Meng Hongwei, was elected, because he was a senior official in the Chinese government, which has also been accused of misusing the system.
The latest election was sparked after Mr Meng was arrested in China during a purge against allegedly disloyal or corrupt officials.
Mr Kim will serve until 2020, completing the four-year mandate of his predecessor.