The Henry Jackson Society today commented on the arrest in Spain on a Russian warrant of Bill Browder.
Mr Browder has since been released after the Interpol General Secretary advised Spanish police not to honour the new Russian Interpol Red Notice.
Mr Browder is a high-profile critic of Vladimir Putin who is widely credited with the creation of the US sanctions on Russian officials accused of corruption commonly known as the Magnitsky Act.
Dr Andrew Foxall, Director of the Russia Studies Centre at The Henry Jackson Society, said:
“Much has been said and written since the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury about Western unity in the face of Russian aggression. Incidents like this, however, suggest that much of that was empty rhetoric – even if, as is now apparent, this was a purely bureaucratic move by the Spanish authorities.
“Russia has long abused Interpol’s Red Notice instrument. This is the sixth time the Kremlin has attempted to arrest Bill Browder using such a warrant. Interpol is meant to fight crime, not act as an enforcement agency for criminals.”
Dr Alan Mendoza, Executive Director of The Henry Jackson Society, said:
“Bill Browder has long been a strong and forceful critic of President Putin. He has worked tirelessly since the murder of Sergei Magnitsky to tackle the rampant corruption that has blighted Russia and plagued the West for too long.
“His leadership over the Magnitsky Act has been instrumental in shrinking the control and influence of Russian oligarchs and the Kremlin across the globe.
“It is absolutely right that this warrant has been dropped and Bill released, although it is disgraceful that he was arrested in the first place. It should not take an intervention from the General Secretary of Interpol to prevent a key European ally from arresting somebody on charges trumped up by the kleptocratic Russian state.”