The international policing agency Interpol has turned down a Russian request for member countries to keep it apprised of the movements of Hermitage Capital Management founder William Browder.
Russia had asked for a "blue notice" to be issued to Interpol's 190 members with regard to Browder, whom Russia accuses of tax fraud. But Interpol ruled that the case against the hedge fund manager was "of a predominantly political nature," and therefore it was barred from issuing the notice.
Browder, an American-born British citizen, has accused Russian officials of bilking both Hermitage and Russia itself, and has alleged that Hermitage lawyer Sergei Magnitsky was tortured to death in a Russian prison. He has led a partially successful effort to have Russian officials linked with the case against Magnitsky barred from the U.S. and western Europe, and to have their assets in those countries frozen. Russia issued an arrest warrant in absentia against him last month.
Browder said Interpol's decision was "a clear sign of how far Russia has stepped over the line in the Magnitsky case" and called Russia's government "a deeply corrupt regime" that "will not be allowed to freely persecute whistle-blowers."
The decision means that Interpol will delete all information about Browder from its databases.
Aleksei Pushkov, the chairman of the Russian Parliament's foreign-affairs committee, said, "I think some international quarters have put pressure on Interpol."