Senators push back on Russian official's candidacy for Interpol president

A group of U.S. senators is urging the Trump administration to oppose a Russian official's candidacy to lead Interpol.

"Interpol electing Major General Alexander Prokopchuk as its new President is akin to putting a fox in charge of a henhouse," wrote Sens. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioLiberal think tank: GOP paid parental leave proposals are too narrow GOP senator: 'Outrageous' to say Trump's tweets about Democratic congresswomen are racist House passes bills to boost small business cybersecurity MORE (R-Fla.), Christopher CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsTrump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand Senate Democrats skipping Pence's border trip GOP chairman introduces bill to force 'comprehensive review' of US-Saudi relationship MORE (D-Del.) Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenCrucial for Congress to fund life-saving diabetes research Overnight Defense: House approves 3 billion defense bill | Liberal sweeteners draw progressive votes | Bill includes measure blocking Trump from military action on Iran Senators urge Trump to sanction Turkey for accepting Russian missile shipment MORE (R-N.H.) and Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerTrump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand FAA nominee advances to full Senate vote Senate GOP raises concerns about White House stopgap plan to avoid shutdown MORE (R-Miss.) in a joint statement.

"Russia routinely abuses Interpol for the purpose of settling scores and harassing political opponents, dissidents and journalists," they wrote.


The senators accused Prokopchuk, a veteran Russian Interior Ministry official, of being "personally involved in this intimidation strategy."

"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," they added. 

Russia, however, argued that the senators' statement was tantamount to "a kind of election interference, the election held by this international organization," according to The Wall Street Journal.

A spokeswoman for Russia's Interior Ministry, Irina Volk, said in a statement that Prokopchuk's current post at Interpol and years in law enforcement confirmed "the trust and high appreciation of his activities in this international organization.”

She said Prokopchuk would "operate completely in the interests of the international police community" if elected.

Interpol confirmed to the Journal on Tuesday that Prokopchuk had been nominated for president of the global police agency along with a South Korean official, Kim Jong-yang. 

The elections for Interpol's presidency will be held Wednesday. 

Its last president, Meng Hongwei, resigned in October after he was arrested in China on charges of corruption.