According to the lawyer, Mr. Baumgertner, 41, is under constant surveillance by KGB officers. When reached, Igor Karyagin, head of the Russian embassy’s consular department, said that Mr. Baumgertner was staying in the apartment together with his mother, who had just flown to Minsk from Russia.
“He has not appealed to the embassy for assistance so far. Our request for permission to meet with him, which was filed with the foreign ministry, remains effective. The question is where and how [diplomats could meet with him] as he has been moved to house arrest,” Mr. Karyagin said.
Mr. Baumgertner was arrested on August 26 as he was about to fly out of Minsk after a meeting with Belarusian Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich.
A few days later, Belarusian authorities instituted criminal proceedings against Russian billionaire and Uralkali’s top shareholder Suleiman Kerimov.
The case is linked to Uralkali’s July 30 decision to de facto quit BPC, its joint trading arm with Belarusian potash giant Belaruskali. Minsk claims that the collapse of the Belarusian-Russian potash sales cartel has caused severe economic damage to Belarus.
On September 16, Russian Deputy Prosecutor General Aleksandr Zvyagintsev announced that the Investigative Committee of Belarus would hand over the investigation of the criminal case to the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office.
Alyaksandr Lukashenka said on September 19 that Mr. Baumgertner might be extradited to Russia “for investigation.”
Russian Prosecutor General Yury Chaika stayed in Minsk on September 24 to discuss the possible return of Mr. Baumgertner to Russia.
Mr. Baumgertner was released from the KGB jail hours before Russian President Vladimir Putin was scheduled to arrive in Belarus to observe a joint military exercise.