Written by Sergey Brodnikov
Translated by Elizaveta Ovchinnikova
6 July 2022
President of the All-Russian public organisation ‘International Police Association Russian Section’, Lieutenant-General Yury Zhdanov told why another anti-Russian attack was not supported
The English witch still befouls
Yury Nikolaevich, which countries demanded that INTERPOL stop cooperating with Russia?
Mr Yury Zhdanov: The proposal was initiated by Britain and Ukraine. But despite the unprecedented pressure, it failed. INTERPOL General Secretariat on its website in March stressed that neutrality is fundamental to the work and existence of the organisation, especially when member countries are engaged in conflict. According to INTERPOL’s Constitution, ‘it is strictly forbidden for the organisation to undertake any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character,’ and, in addition, ‘INTERPOL’s mandate does not include issuing sanctions or taking punitive measures, nor is there any provision in the Constitution for the suspension or exclusion of a member country.’
However, there are cases when ‘our Western partners’ openly ignore any previous agreements and their own rules, just to harm Russia. In fact, all the sanctions imposed against us are illegal, as well as from the point of view of the laws of Western countries. Including culture and sports – well, what are our violinists or figure skaters guilty of?! But with the idea of our exclusion from INTERPOL, they suddenly slowed down. Why?
Mr Yury Zhdanov: As for the music, I agree, it is the most defenseless target for many scoundrels. Sport is also vulnerable, there are examples. Although Muhammad Ali once said that everyone can offend a boxer but not everyone will have time to apologise. But this is another story. When it comes to crime fighting, things are getting more complicated. Here, at stake for each country is the safety of its own citizens and the safety – most importantly – of public and private money. This is sacred. And when it comes to this, what does Ukraine have to do with it? And Britain left the EU altogether.
INTERPOL understands what role Russia plays in crime fighting. Last year, thanks to the activities of the INTERPOL’s National Central Bureau (NCB) of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia, more than 100 criminals were caught and handed over to foreign colleagues. Is it any wonder that these countries have not refused to cooperate with Russia?
And who was caught?
Mr Yury Zhdanov: In April, the world’s leading media reported on the joint operation of the special services and law enforcement agencies of the United States and Germany in suppressing transnational organised criminal activities of the global darknet market of criminal services ‘Hydra’ and its defeat. Hydra was engaged in literally everything – from the arms trade to contract killings and terrorist attacks. Drug trafficking is its most innocent activity. FBI Director Christopher Wray stressed that this was made possible as a result of many years of international cooperation between law enforcement agencies of several countries.
However, here’s what the head of the American intelligence service ‘hesitated’ to say. In fact, all operational investigative work on this case was initiated and conducted through INTERPOL channels by Russian law enforcement agencies and special services. Moreover, numerous requests from Russia about the need to disable the Hydra servers located in Germany were ignored for a long time. Nevertheless, in April, the founder of the darknet market platform, Dmitry Pavlov, was arrested in Moscow. Apparently, this is the ‘result of many years of international cooperation.’ They entered paradise from someone else’s hump. This is beneficial for the West, because so far they have decided not to abandon such a ‘hump’.
But now, when the armed conflict is not fading in Ukraine, it is especially necessary to strengthen the interaction between law enforcement officers from all countries. Does INTERPOL understand this?
Mr Yury Zhdanov: I really hope so. After all, it is obvious that in the course of any military operations, crime increases many times, organised criminal groups, drug trafficking, arms smuggling, illegal migration, human trafficking, online financial fraud and embezzlement, illegal trafficking in medicines and essential goods have become more active. It is no coincidence that the head of INTERPOL, Jürgen Stock, recently expressed his concern about the projected increase in organised crime due to the conflict in Ukraine. The same concern was expressed by many heads of law enforcement agencies in many countries, calling for continued cooperation with Russia in the fight against crime.
How did our police help them this year?
Mr Yury Zhdanov: In the conditions of the Special Military Operation in Ukraine, criminals were extradited from Russia through INTERPOL channels at the request of Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Brazil, Montenegro, the Czech Republic, Northern Macedonia, Portugal, Spain and the Dominican Republic. Among them are drug dealers, terrorists, financial fraudsters, members of organised criminal groups, bandits and robbers, ‘tax’ perpetrators and others.
Did they extradite someone to us?
Mr Yury Zhdanov: Of course. Since February, more than 20 extraditions have been carried out at the request of Russia and foreign countries, 14 of them already during the Special Military Operation in Ukraine. At the request of law enforcement agencies of the Russian Federation, the accused were extradited to Russia from Hungary, Spain, Egypt and Vietnam. Among them are the leader of an organised criminal group, online financial scammers.
Who exactly was extradited to us?
Mr Yury Zhdanov: For example, in March, the extradition of Brazilian citizen Eduardo Fauzi, accused of a terrorist attack and attempted murder, took place at Vnukovo airport. He asked for political asylum in Russia but at the request of Brazil, he was extradited to his homeland via INTERPOL. In April, a citizen of Ukraine was detained in the Russian Federation, who was wanted by the Czech police for robbery and illicit trafficking in counterfeit means of payment. And at the Narva – Ivangorod checkpoint, an internationally wanted citizen of this country, Daniil Danilov, accused of robbing a jewelry store in Tallinn, was handed over to Estonian law enforcement officers. In May, at the same Vnukovo, the Hungarian side extradited a citizen of the Russian Federation Nikolay Boglaev, who is accused of fraud on an especially large scale. The Georgian citizen David Gerliani, accused of organising a criminal community, was extradited from Cairo. He occupies the highest position in the criminal hierarchy.
There is no extradition from London
And yet, probably, the relationship of the Russian police with foreign colleagues is not cloudless?
Mr Yury Zhdanov: Absolutely. The political situation and unprecedented Russophobia in Western countries have not stopped international cooperation in the law enforcement sphere but have significantly hindered it. As expected, bureaucratic delays slow down the work of operative forces. At the same time, Russia continues to fulfill its international obligations to extradite criminals, despite everything, which cannot be said about Western ‘partners’. According to the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation, nine European countries – Germany, Britain, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Croatia, Montenegro, the Czech Republic and Estonia, guided by ‘political motives’, refused to extradite Russia persons accused of committing grave and especially grave crimes. A universal motivation for the formal refusal of extradition has been invented: those accused of crimes may be ‘persecuted on the basis of political opinions’.
Who they refused to give to us?
Mr Yury Zhdanov: In May, an Italian court denied the request of the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation to extradite to Russia the ex-general director of the Antipinsky Oil Refinery, Gennady Lisovichenko, accused of fraud and large embezzlement. In May, the deputy director general of Aeroflot, Andrey Panov, was arrested in absentia, having fled to Israel, accused of especially large scale fraud and, in addition, calling top managers to sabotage through an online message. Obviously, the prospect of his extradition from Israel in the near future is unlikely. In April, Igor Volobuev, ex-vice president of Gazprombank, fled to Ukraine (!). The Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation is preparing to initiate a criminal case indicting him for treason and murder threats. Recently, Nina Belyaeva, a Communist Party deputy from the Voronezh Region, was arrested in absentia and declared in the international search, accused of publicly calling for terrorism and spreading deliberately false information about the actions of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. According to preliminary data, she is in Ukraine.
In conditions of total Russophobia, all these high-profile cases will be recognised in the West as politically motivated, which closes the prospect of extradition of the accused.
And last year, through INTERPOL channels, Russia was denied the extradition from Britain of businessman Boris Mints and his sons, from Montenegro – the criminal head of ‘Cherkizovsky market’ Telman Ismailov, from Lithuania – Navalny’s associate Leonid Volkov and others. All of them are accused of committing serious and especially serious crimes, but the law enforcement agencies of Western countries again consider the charges to be politically motivated. Meanwhile, the refusal to extradite these citizens complicates the investigation of crimes committed by them, complicates international legal cooperation in the law enforcement sphere and violates the principle of the inevitability of punishment.
Traditionally, the leader of extradition refusals is Britain, more than 30 accused requested by Russia are hiding there. However, this has been going on for centuries, when revolutionaries, murderers and other perpetrators fled to London – everyone who somehow harmed Russia.
Do our Western ‘partners’ understand that if Russia is excluded from INTERPOL, it will soon be possible to close INTERPOL itself?
Mr Yury Zhdanov: I hope it won’t come to that, although there is a threat of such a development of the situation. However, when Europe begins to suffocate from the rampant activities of organised criminal groups in the near future, all political motivations and tolerant attitudes may fade into the background. We are doomed to cooperate in the suppression of transnational criminal activitiy.
Let me remind you that before the beginning of the Special Military Operation, Russia, within the framework of INTERPOL, interacted with Ukraine, Poland, Germany and France on the capture and extradition of criminals. In April – May, cooperation with law enforcement authorities in China and Vietnam was strengthened, online training courses for police officers from African and ASEAN countries – Myanmar, Cambodia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Laos, Brunei Darussalam and Thailand – were opened in the Russian Federation. So, only INTERPOL itself will lose from its ‘closure’ but not Russia.
By the way
Extradited from Cairo
David Gerliani is accused of organising a criminal community. Having authority in the criminal world, he extended his influence to persons serving sentences in one of the penal colonies in the Smolensk Region, Russia.