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Interpol’s refusal to put Browder on wanted list confuses RF’s interior ministry

July 27, 2013, 15:10 UTC+3

Moscow’s Tverskoy District Court sentenced him for a nine-year term

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MOSCOW, July 27 (Itar-Tass) - Russia’s Interior Ministry is expecting from the Interpol’s General Secretariat exhaustive explanations as per the refusal to put William Browder on the international wanted list, the ministry’s press service told Itar-Tass on Saturday.

“Russia’s Interior Ministry expects to receive soon exhaustive explanations of the official position of the Interpol’s General Secretariat, which is published on the organisation’s site and which relates to the refusal to satisfy the application to put on the international wanted list the UK’s citizen William Browder for a major embezzlement, for which Moscow’s Tverskoy District Court sentenced him for a nine-year term,” the ministry said, stressing the decision from the Interpol’s General Secretariat to refuse William Browder’s detention causes confusion.

“Russia’s Interior Ministry continues to consider the Interpol an organisation, which in its activities is motivated not by political decisions and estimations, but acts exclusively in the framework of the international law and the Organisation’s Constitution.”

The source stressed that in compliance with the Russian legislation, all persons, who commit crimes in the territory of the Russian Federation, whether Russian citizens or not, bear criminal responsibility.

Russia has put British subject William Browder, the chief executive officer and a co-founder of the Hermitage Capital Management investment fund, on the international wanted list, a source at the press centre of the Russian Interior Ministry told Itar-Tass on Thursday, July 25.

Browder is being accused of stealing almost 3 billion roubles worth of Gazprom shares, the source went on to say.

"The Russia-based Interpol office has sent a letter to the Interpol’s secretariat following a demand from the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office, requesting to put William Browder on the Interpol international wanted list. Browder is being charged with embezzlement in huge amounts which the Russian Penal Code classifies as a grave crime,” the Interior Ministry representative said.

It was established that Browder had paid more than two billion roubles to obtain over 131 million shares of the Russian gas giant Gazprom by internal market prices in a period from 1999 to 2004.

"At that time Russian laws required that all foreigners get permission from the Federal Commission for Securities and the Russian government for the acquisition of any shares or buy the so-called American depositary receipts at foreign stock exchanges where their price was much higher,” the Russian Interior Ministry explained.

Investigators believe that Browder set up several legal entities in the territory of the Russian Republic of Kalmykia to carry out unlawful transactions.

"He and a number of unidentified persons opened accounts at Gazprombank’s Depositary centre as part of their criminal plan aimed at obtaining Russian securities,” the Russian Interior Ministry said.

Later on, Browder applied for the acquisition of Gazprom shares on behalf of the affiliated companies having concealed the fact that foreign capital accounted for a hundred percent of their authorized funds.

The Russian Interior Ministry said that Browder had concluded at least 30 unlawful deals involving the purchase and sale of Gazprom’s shares and had caused at least 2.9 billion roubles worth of damage to Russia.

On Friday, the Internet site of the Interpol’s General Secretariat, which is located in Lyon, France, published a statement, where Interpol says it would not be searching for William Browder as it had been requested by the Russian Federation. The information says that the Organisation’s independent commission back on May 24 of the current year said that the Russian Federation’s use of Interpol’s channels for obtaining information on Mr. Browder is mostly of political character, thus contradicting Interpol’s norms and regulations. The request received on July 26 on “identifying location and on arrest” of Browder, Interpol said, is regulated fully by the decision made in May.

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