Bill Browder Admits He Was Worried Police Who Arrested Him Were Actually Russian Agents

30 May 2018, 13:15 | Updated: 30 May 2018, 13:27

Bill Browder told LBC of the moment he knew he was safe after being arrested in Spain - when he arrived at a police station and knew the cops weren't Russian agents.

The anti-corruption campaigner has been dubbed "Vladimir Putin's number one enemy" after trying to expose wrongdoing by the Russian leader and his associates.

He was arrested this morning in Spain on a Russian Interpol arrest warrant.. However, he was released after the Interpol General Secretary advised Spanish authorities not to honour the Russian Red Notice

And speaking to Maajid Nawaz, he said this was the sixth time Russia has tried to have him arrested.

Asked if he was shaken, Mr Browder said: "I'm fine. The Russians have been after me for a good eight years, since the murder of my lawyer Sergei Magnitsky. They've tried having me arrested on many occasions."

Maajid asked if he had been worried for his safety and he responded: "I was wanting to make sure that they were real police and not Russian agents dressed as police. So when we got to the police station, I was actually relaxed.

"Once I knew they weren't trying to kidnap me, I was ok."

Maajid Nawaz spoke to Bill Browder
Maajid Nawaz spoke to Bill Browder. Picture: LBC / Bill Browder

Ironically, Bill was in Spain to speak to a Spanish prosecutor investigating corruption in Russia, only to be arrested on a "bogus" Russian arrest warrant.

He explained: "I tweeted it and it was buzzing around the world, with people asking 'What are the Spanish doing doing Putin's bidding going after one of the guys exposing him for one of his crimes?'"

Asked if he was worried for his safety in the future, Mr Browder said: "They absolutely want to kill me. They've threatened to kill me. They've threatened to kidnap me. They've tried to arrest me.

"Am I living in fear? No. I'm out there and I'm going to continue to fight for justice for Sergei Magnitsky and continue to expose Putin and continue with my head held high."

In 2015, Mr Browder told James O'Brien why Vladimir Putin wanted him dead.

His whole story is a remarkable listen - and you can listen to it in full above - but the moment he realised he was on his own against Russia was chilling.

Having been landed with a £230million tax bill based on forged documents, he decided to report it.

Mr Browder takes up the story: "We were sure that Putin might be totally comfortable ripping me off, but to allow the State to be ripped off? It didn't make any sense.

"We thought if we just get the information out into the open, we file a bunch of criminal complaints, get into the newspapers, then the good guys would get the bad guys and that would be the end of the story.

"It turned out, there were no good guys. Just bad guys.

"Instead of opening up a criminal case against the people who did this, the authorities opened criminal cases against all of our lawyers, including Sergei Magnitsky."