$100 mln ransom price for arrested Uralkali CEO


Vladislav Baumgertner might be transferred to Russia after recovery of damages, the Belarusian President states. “If you want to investigate this case. Take it and investigate,” news agency BelTA quotes Mr Lukashenka as saying.

“I am not blood-thirsty. I don’t say that we must jail them. May he compensate these losses until we have more. If he sets off losses we will do our best to deliver beloved-of-all Baumgertner,” Aliaksandr Lukashenka said during yesterday’s press conference for journalists representing CIS countries.

The head of state pointed out that Belarus had already handed over 19 books of documents over Baumgertner’s criminal case to the Russian side. “It’s not all as easy as it sounds there. They sold potash fertilizers via a Swiss firm, set one price (for example, $350) but in fact sold them for $400 and the difference was split. As there has been some such occasions, there is no need in nice safes,” Lukashenka said and added that was precisely why the charge had been modified to ‘stealing’. “We’d rather take the issue off the table ourselves, tackle it and punish all the guilty,” he stressed.

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Vladislav Baumgertner, director general of Russian potash company Uralkali and chairman of the supervisory board of Belarusian Potash Company (BPC), was handcuffed at the National airport of Belarus on August 26, 2013. As Mr Baumgertner was in Minsk on the personal invitation of Belarusian Prime Minister Mikhail Miasnikovich the arrest immediately escalated into an international scandal. At first he was accused of abuse of office under Article 424 of the Belarusian Criminal Code and put to ‘Amerykanka’, the KGB predetention centre. At the moment Mr Baumgertner is under home arrest in Minsk.

The criminal case is apparently linked to Uralkali’s July, 30 decision to stop exports through BPC, its joint trader with Belaruskali. Uralkali’s board decided on July, 29 that the company would export its fertilizers exclusively through a subsidiary trader called Uralkali Trading.

On September 2, 2013 The Belarusian Investigative Committee decided that Suleiman Kerimov, Uralkali’s major stockholder, was also subject to arrest.

According to the official data, ‘unlawful acts performed by Baumgertner and a number of other top managers have resulted in up to $100 loss suffered by Belarus kaliy and BPC’. The amount of damage might rise significantly, Pavel Traulka, Spokesman for the Investigative Committee, said.

www.belsat.eu/en

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