Interior Ministry to Meet with Interpol About Browder

Russian authorities have invited the head of Interpol to Moscow to discuss whether the agency will help hunt down William Browder, a man whose hedge fund was once the single largest foreign holder of Russian stock.

The meeting could take place in the beginning of September, although the date has not yet been set, Interfax reported.

The founder and head of Hermitage Capital Management was sentenced in absentia to nine years imprisonment for tax evasion in July. He hasn't set foot in Russia since being deported in 2005.

Browder has led a vocal campaigner against human rights abuses in Russia since his lawyer Sergei Magnitsky died in pretrial detention in 2009.

The trials of Magnitsky and Browder have widely been viewed as retaliation for Magnitsky's accusations that Russian government officials stole millions in state funds, the crime with which he was later charged.

The Interior Ministry requested use of Interpol's database in May and then asked that Browder be added to the agency's international wanted list.

In a statement published on July 26, Interpol declared that the search for Browder "was predominantly political in nature and therefore contrary to Interpol's rules and regulations," standing by a May decision from the independent commission that controls the agency's records.

All information related to the request for Browder's arrest was deleted from the Interpol database and the agency's 190 member countries were informed.

"For Interpol to judge this case as being illegitimate and political is highly significant, and just goes to show how far the Putin regime has stepped over the line in the Magnitsky case, and a lot of other cases as well," Browder told Reuters after the decision.

However, a source in the Interior Ministry told Interfax in late July that a letter had come from the head of Interpol's central bureau proposing a meeting about Browder between representatives of the two agencies.

The source believes that Interpol is prepared to hear Russia's arguments and reconsider its position.