Sunday 20 October 2019

'Reason prevails' as South Korean becomes Interpol president over Russian candidate

In this Jan. 23, 2018, photo, Kim Jong Yang, the senior vice president of Interpol executive committee, speaks during a press conference in Changwon, South Korea. On Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2028, Interpol elected Kim Jong Yang as its president in a blow to Russian efforts at naming one of their own. (Kang Kyung-kook/Newsis via AP)
In this Jan. 23, 2018, photo, Kim Jong Yang, the senior vice president of Interpol executive committee, speaks during a press conference in Changwon, South Korea. On Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2028, Interpol elected Kim Jong Yang as its president in a blow to Russian efforts at naming one of their own. (Kang Kyung-kook/Newsis via AP)
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Fears of a "mafia" takeover of Interpol have been allayed after the organisation elected a South Korean as its new president over a Russian candidate.

Kim Jong Yang beat Alexander Prokopchuk, whose running had prompted claims his appointment would politicise Interpol and see it used to hunt down enemies of Vladimir Putin.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt welcomed the result as "very important news for rule of law internationally" after concerns Mr Prokopchuk would be victorious.

British financier Bill Browder, a long-standing critic of Mr Putin, hailed the vote and vowed to continue his battle to get Russia suspended from the police network over its "serial abuse" of arrest notices.

He tweeted: "Interpol rejects Russian candidate as president. Instead votes to elect South Korean candidate. Reason prevails in this dark world.

"Now, the clear next step is to suspend Russia from Interpol for its consistent and serial abuse of the Red Notice and diffusion system for political purposes. My legal team is preparing an initiative to use Interpol's own rules to begin this process."

Interpol confirmed the decision had been made at its general assembly in Dubai on Wednesday.

A day earlier, concerns had been raised at the possibility of Moscow interior ministry veteran Mr Prokopchuk's election.

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable warned it would be "an absolute insult to the victims of the Salisbury attack", while Marina Litvinenko, widow of poisoned dissident Alexander Litvinenko, had said Mr Putin's critics in the UK would not feel safe if the Russian candidate won.

In the Commons on Tuesday, Foreign Office minister Harriett Baldwin said the UK supported Mr Kim.

The latest election was sparked after previous Interpol president Meng Hongwei was arrested in China during a purge against allegedly disloyal or corrupt officials.

PA Media

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