The South Korean has been elected to succeed Meng Hongwei, who stepped down last month after being arrested in China over corruption allegations in September. Sputnik discussed this with Tom Luongo, geopolitical analyst and publisher of the newsletter Gold, Goats 'n Guns.
Sputnik: How surprised were you by the results of the Interpol elections?
Tom Luongo: Not really at all. Honestly, I saw this as very political, the whole thing. Peskov said it best, that it was a very political decision and the pressure that the United States and the United Kingdom put on Interpol to stop Prokopchuk from taking over was quite strong. Personally, I think this has to do with British-American financier Bill Browder, who has ties to Mikhail Khodorkovsky and others who were wanted, obviously, in Russia for tax evasion and all of that.
Sputnik: Russia stated that its candidate lost the election due to the pressure that was exerted by the US and the UK, do you think that really was the case?
Tom Luongo: Yes, I think it probably had a lot to with it. The United States really does feel that it has control over all of these post-World War II institutional bits and pieces, the IMF, SWIFT, Interpol and the rest of them, that's just the way we pursue foreign policy at this point. Why did the State Department get involved in what should be a very non-political thing? Why are four US Senators, many of whom are signatories to the Magnitsky Act, so upset over the idea that a Russian will take over Interpol when there was a Chinese President in charge for years before that? It seems like a vast overreaction, and when you get a vast overreaction from Washington and from the Western media there's usually more to the story than that.
Sputnik: Why was he considered the favourite?
Tom Luongo: South Korea is a strategic partner of the United States geopolitically and Russians are not. I think they would be considered the opposite of that. I really do think that this is being driven by protecting Mr. Browder, who was picked up by Interpol last year on a red notice in Spain and due to British pressure was released, and there's a warrant out for his arrest in Russia as you well know. So I think this has a lot to do with that and I think that Mr. Browder's ties to a number of very important things in Russia, very important issues over the last 15 years or so, that this is important, that who he is tied to is not made publicly aware, and if a Russian like Alexander Prokopchuk is allowed to be in charge of Interpol, the red notices against Mr. Browder would then be prosecuted and he would be sent back to Russia to face jail time and potentially to stand trial.
The Russians have just put out another couple of lawsuits against him. The overreaction from the United States, even Russia on the other side as well (given the) timing all of this, I think that's what's going on here, it was pretty obvious, from what I understand he was the favorite coming into this and this was not going to be allowed to happen. This kind of thing we're seeing everywhere, I just see this story played out over and over again, that no matter what happens, the US gets their way on even the most minor of issues.
Sputnik: Let's talk about the scandal with the former president and the corruption investigation. Meng Hongwei has resigned, this is an international policing organization and its president is arrested for corruption, what was the effect of that on the organization's reputation?
Tom Luongo: They arrested him or recalled him on September 30 and they've given no indication as to what or why the corruption charges are about, and then they sent his resignation letter in, he didn't, he hasn't been heard from since September 30. The Americans are worried about the Russians politicizing Interpol, this was the main reason why they were so angry and so up in arms about the potential for a Russian candidate to take over a president. They immediately politicized the thing by spreading it all over the news, so it's a very odd situation here. The whole thing seems incredibly hinky, that's the best word I can put on it, it stinks of a lot of arm-twisting behind the scenes.
The views and opinions expressed by the speaker do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.