The Kremlin says opposition to a Russian candidate to lead the global police group Interpol amounts to election interference.
The election for a new leader is set for Wednesday at the end of Interpol’s annual conference in Dubai.
Four U.S. senators issued an open letter Monday urging President Donald Trump to oppose the candidacy of Russia’s Alexander Prokopchuk, the current Interpol vice president.
The senators said Prokopchuk had been “personally involved” in what it said was Russia’s routine “abuses of Interpol for the purpose of settling scores and harassing political opponents, dissidents and journalists.”
“This is probably a certain kind of interference in the electoral process of an international organization,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in response to criticism of Prokopchuk.
Interpol member countries will vote to replace Meng Hongwei, who disappeared in his native China in September. China later told Interpol that Meng had quit after being charged with accepting bribes.
Also vying for the presidency of Interpol is South Korea’s Kim Jong-Yang, who is serving as acting president.
Prokopchuk, considered the leading candidate, has also been criticized by others including Bill Browder, a U.S.-born British fund manager and Kremlin foe who has been the subject of several arrest notices issued by Interpol at Russia’s request.
Browder said it would be “outrageous” if Prokopchuk wins the election, which he maintains is an attempt by Russian President Vladimir Putin to “expand his criminal tentacles to every corner of the globe.”