>> Interpol, the world's largest international law enforcement organization, has elected a new president. And it isn't the expected Russian candidate that was raising alarm in the West over Kremlin interference, but instead a South Korean one. This surprise move came at an annual meeting in Dubai on Wednesday. Interpol's 194 member states appointed Kim Jong Yang, rejecting Russia's front runner Alexander Prokopchuk who have been widely tipped to win.
Reuters Andrew Osborn is in Moscow.>> There was a very concerted last minute lobbying campaign by Britain among others, by the United States and by very prominent critics, people who the Kremlin regards as their enemies. A big campaign to stop the Russian candidate winning. It's hard to know how much influence that campaign had on the result.
>> They accuse Russia of already abusing Interpol to settle scores and harass dissidents.>> More specifically, they accuse Russia of misusing Interpol, manipulating Interpol, to get it to issue so-called red notices. Those are arrest warrants, for people that the Kremlin doesn't like.>> Kremlin critics say Prokopchuk, a former major general in Russia's Interior Ministry, takes orders directly from Putin.
>> If a Russian is in charge of Interpol, then the West will have to look for a plan B.>> The election itself was an impromptu one, after the former Chinese Interpol President Meng Hongwei disappeared in September. He'd been on a trip to China. Days after his wife reported him missing, Chinese authorities said he was being investigated for taking bribes.
He has not been seen since but has sent a letter of resignation to Interpol. Kim takes over what would have been the final two years of his presidency.