Putin foe Bill Browder arrested in Spain, nobody can explain why

UK's William Browder Says Detained in Spain on Russian Arrest Warrant

Spanish police briefly detained prominent Kremlin critic Bill Browder in Madrid on Wednesday, acting on a request from Russian Federation, highlighting Moscow's attempts to cow its critics even when they are overseas.

"Urgent: Just was arrested by Spanish police in Madrid on a Russian Interpol arrest warrant".

Spanish authorities confirmed that the anti-corruption activist was arrested in Madrid, but had since been released.

Russian Federation had convicted Browder in absentia twice and both times sentenced him to nine years in prison (on charges of deliberate bankruptcy and non-payment of taxes).

As head of the Hermitage Capital Management investment fund, Browder led a campaign to expose corruption and punish Russian officials he blames for the 2009 death of Sergei Magnitsky, whom he employed as a lawyer.

William Browder, who tweeted that he was in Madrid "to give evidence to senior Spanish anti-Russian mafia prosecutor Jose Grinda", was taken to a police station on Wednesday morning.

A police spokesman told AFP: "An arrest warrant has a date limit and when that expires, it must be deleted from the computer programme and in this case Interpol hadn't deleted it". "They won't tell me which station".

"There is not, and never has been, a Red Notice for Mr Bill Browder", Interpol said in a statement.

United Kingdom investor and Putin critic Browder says on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 in a tweet that he has been arrested in Spain on Russian request.

He also included a photo of the arrest warrant, which appeared to have been issued by the Spanish interior ministry, and claimed that Browder was wanted for fraud, the charge he has been convicted of by a Russian court.

This article has been updated to include Interpol's denial that it issued a warrant for Browder's arrest, and Browder's subsequent tweet about his release.

Foreign secretary Boris Johnson said: "Very glad he has now been released".

In March, Mr Browder told the Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee that he believes the Russian government wants him dead. British MPs have also backed sanctions against people guilty of human rights violations in memory of Magnitsky.

Interpol had previously refused to enforce a similar 2013 sentence for Mr Browder, deeming it "predominantly political in nature".

"Moscow should concentrate on bringing those responsible for the murder of #Magnitsky to justice", he tweeted.

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