Hermitage Capital Management CEO William Browder has urged the Canadian government to help suspend Russia's membership in Interpol due to its alleged violation of the organisation's rules on "a serial basis".
"And what I'm saying to the Canadian Parliament and the Canadian government is Canada should lead right now on suspending Russia from the Interpol system, in the same way as Russia was suspended from the Olympics after getting caught cheating," Browder was quoted by Canada's CBC news network as saying.
He referred to a rule in the Interpol constitution which Browder alleged "allows Interpol to suspend countries that abuse the system" and has "never been used before".
"All it takes is one country to take the lead here. [Interpol] is meant for law enforcement, not for chasing political enemies. It shouldn't be an arm of a dictatorship," Browder added.
His remarks came a day after the Russian Foreign Ministry's spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Moscow regrets the fact that the US has launched "an unprecedented disinformation, pressure and defamation campaign" connected with the recent election of the Interpol chief.
"[…] Washington has even given up on its principles on not disclosing preferences during elections to international organisations, and it has involved its foreign ministry in it, as it has openly taken the path of preventing the Russian candidate from being elected," Zakharova underscored.
She spoke shortly after Interpol announced that its current acting head Kim Jong Yang had been elected for a two-year term.
Earlier, the Russian Interior Ministry accused foreign media of running a smear campaign against a senior Russian police officer, Maj. Gen. Alexander Prokopchuk who was another candidate to head Interpol.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, for his part, said that Washington was "strongly" endorsing the current acting head of Interpol. The statement came as a bipartisan group of US senators warned in a letter against the election of Prokopchuk, who serves as Interpol's vice-president for Europe.
In another development earlier this week, Nikolai Atmonyev, an adviser to the Russian Prosecutor General, announced that a new criminal case has been launched against Hermitage Capital chief executive William Browder in Russia, adding that Moscow will soon put Browder on an international wanted list under the UN Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime.
"Last Friday, a decision was made regarding Browder to initiate a criminal case for creating a criminal organisation and directing it, that is, for the crime provided for by Part 1 of Article 210 of Russia's Criminal Code," Atmonyev said.
In 2013, Browder was sentenced in absentia to nine years in prison for tax evasion and falsely claiming tax breaks for hiring disabled persons by a Moscow court. The UK, where he resided at the time, denied his extradition to Russia.