Putin critic Bill Browder released after arrest in Madrid

Bill Browder

Hermitage Capital Management founder Bill Browder, who's led a global campaign to encourage governments to sanction the Kremlin over human-rights abuses, was was briefly detained by Spanish police in response to a Russian warrant issued through Interpol.

Two hours later, Browder tweeted a photo of himself outside a police station with a message saying: "Good news".

The Spanish police service said:...

Browder subsequently tweeted that the Spanish police had released him, after Interpol told them to do so.

In December 2017, a Moscow court sentenced Browder to nine years in prison in absentia for tax fraud.

Browder was a driving force behind getting the Magnitsky Act enshrined in law in the U.S. He believes it's Putin's No. 1 priority to get the U.S.to lift sanctions under the act, which now affect 44 Russians.

Detailing the events on social media, Mr Browder wrote: "Urgent: Just was arrested by Spanish police in Madrid on a Russian Interpol arrest warrant".

But police later told AFP he had been released when they realised the "warrant" had expired.

"There is not, and never has been, a Red Notice for Mr Bill Browder", the agency added.


Financier Bill Browder, a high-profile critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has been arrested in Spain.

Image: Mr. Browder confirmed he had been released on Twitter.

The Russian Prosecutor General's Office said it hasn't yet received information about Browder's arrest, according to state-run Tass news service.

In March Mr Browder told the Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee that he believed the Russian government wanted him dead.

The Magnitsky Act returned to the headlines in 2017 after it emerged that a lawyer supporting the Russian government's position had met senior figures in Donald Trump's United States presidential campaign, including Trump's son and son-in-law.

Interpol had previously refused to enforce a 2013 warrant for the investor, deeming it "predominantly political in nature".

Browder led one of the biggest investment funds in Russian Federation for 10 years before he left the country and was barred re-entry in 2006 on the grounds that he posed a threat to national security.

Browder, who gave up his USA citizenship in 1998, was named in a "diffusion notice" by the Russian government in October which allows a country to temporarily bypass Interpol headquarters and notify a country that another country is seeking the arrest of a specific person.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson tweeted Wednesday that he was "very glad" Browder had been released.

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