16:50 GMT27 September 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - William Browder, the CEO of UK-based Hermitage Capital Management, wanted in Russia for tax evasion, said that the outpouring of Twitter messages that began after his arrest in Spain was announced had helped secure his speedy release from custody.

    "Normally when someone is arrested on a bogus Russian Interpol arrest warrant, they have to fight for 3-6 months behind bars against the Russian extradition before being released. The Twitter storm after the announcement of my arrest had me free me in two hours," Browder wrote on Twitter, answering to a tweet asking whether he thought he would have been released had he not managed to post about the situation unfolding around him.

    On Wednesday, the UK financier wrote on Twitter that he was arrested by the Spanish police in Madrid on a Russian Interpol arrest warrant. However, several hours after being detained, Browder was released. The Spanish police told Sputnik that they had freed the UK financier after it was found that the warrant for his arrest had been invalid.

    READ MORE: Browder Released in Spain, Vows to Continue 'Magnitsky Sanctions Advocacy'

    After Browder was apprehended in Spain on Wednesday, Alexander Kurennoy, the spokesman of the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office, said that the authority had not yet received confirmation of Browder's detention from Interpol. The international police organization, in turn, said it had never issued a warrant for the arrest of the businessman.

    Despite this, Browder insisted that the warrant was "live" and was a "new Interpol Red Notice," arguing that Russia had abused Interpol systems by passing notices for his arrest through them without the police noticing.

    In Russia, the UK financier has been wanted for various offenses since 2013. In the most recent case in December, a Moscow court found Browder guilty of tax evasion. The court sentenced Browder in absentia to nine years in prison and charged him and his business partner Ivan Cherkasov with 4.2 billion rubles ($72.9 million) in unpaid taxes. The court also fined Browder 200,000 rubles and prohibited the financier from carrying out business activities on Russian territory for three years.

    In February 2017, a Moscow court ruled to arrest Browder and Cherkasov in absentia. The United Kingdom has denied requests to have them extradited to Russia.


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