Spanish police on Wednesday briefly detained Bill Browder, a U.S.-born British financier and prominent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin who tweeted he had been arrested at the request of Russia.
A police spokeswoman said Browder was taken to a police station to check on the arrest warrant, but that authorities found that it had expired.
“Good news. Spanish National Police just released me after Interpol General Secretary in Lyon advised them not to honor the new Russian Interpol Red Notice,” Browder wrote on Twitter. “This is the 6th time that Russia has abused Interpol in my case.”
The Interpol press office told VOA, “There is not, and never has been, a Red Notice for Mr. Bill Browder,” and that he is “not wanted via Interpol channels.”
Interpol allows member countries to request what it calls a Red Notice, or international alert for a wanted person, and it is then up to local authorities to carry out any arrests.
Browder had earlier posted a message saying he had been arrested, along with a photo from inside a police car on the way to the station. He also posted a photo of what he said was his arrest warrant, but the page he showed only included details about the rights of a person arrested in Spain.
Browder said last year Russia had added him to the Interpol list five times, but that each time the agency had looked at the circumstances and lifted the notices after determining they were illegitimate.
In 2013, the Independent Commission for the Control of Interpol’s Files investigated Russia’s use of the agency to seek information about Browder and determined the Russian activity “was predominantly political in nature” and went against Interpol’s rules. The agency responded by carrying out the commission’s recommendation that it delete all data related to Russian requests about Browder from its databases.
Browder, who ran one of the most successful investment funds in Russia before his expulsion in 2005 when his business was expropriated, lobbied hard for U.S. sanctions to be introduced after his lawyer Sergei Magnitsky was arrested and died in Russian custody. That resulted in Congress passing the Magnitsky Act, a measure enabling Washington to withhold visas and freeze financial assets of Russian officials thought to be corrupt or human rights abusers.