The International Criminal Police Organisation which brings together police forces from 194 countries could be led by a Russian and countries in the EU and their ally, the U.S. are hoping to prevent this outcome.
Alexander Prokopchuk, an old-hand from Russia’s interior ministry, is favourite to be elected at the international agency’s general assembly this week in Dubai. Delegates will cast votes on Wednesday for a new president of the international police organization.
Those opposing his election say Russia, has a track record of using Interpol's systems to crack down on and pursue the Kremlin's political foes. US senators released a letter saying the election of Prokopchuk would be "akin to putting a fox in charge of a henhouse."
The letter further state, "Russia routinely abuses Interpol for the purpose of settling scores and harassing political opponents, dissidents and journalists," the letter said. "Alexander Prokopchuk has been personally involved in this intimidation strategy which ultimately seeks to weaken democratic institutions and embolden Putin's authoritarian regime. If elected as president by the members of Interpol's general assembly on Wednesday, we have no doubt that Mr. Prokopchuk will further institutionalize the abuse of Interpol red notices and block ongoing efforts at meaningful reform."
The election comes after former Interpol chief Meng Hongwei went missing in September after travelling from the organisation's headquarters to China. He resigned in absentia after it came to be known that he was being investigated by Chinese authorities for corruption.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo endorsed Kim Jong Yang, a South Korean police official who is currently the acting president of Interpol, for the job on a permanent basis. "We encourage all nations and organizations that are part of Interpol and that respect the rule of law to choose a leader with credibility and integrity that reflects one of the world's most critical law enforcement bodies. We believe Mr. Kim will be just that," Pompeo said at a news conference in Washington.
The UK is also opposing the Russian official’s candidature as London has accused Moscow of carrying out the poisoning of a Russian double-agent on its soil.